Book Review: Metro Diaries 2

Short Stories are always a delight to read. The author, Namrata is a reader, writer and reviewer herself. This got me excited. Normally short stories have a lot of genres clubbed into one. But in this one, all the 20 stories are love stories. Without even giving it a second thought I picked this one up to review. Here are

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Book Review: Skyfire

The trio of journalist Chandrasekhar, historian Meenakshi Pirzada and intelligence officer Syed Ali Hassan from The Shadow Throne is back in Aroon Raman‘s 3rd novel – Skyfire. After dabbling in historical fiction for his 2nd book – The Treasure of Kafur, Raman is back to writing what he started off with and to a very large extent he doesn’t disappoint.

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Book Review: The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen

The Murder of Sonia Raikkonen is Salil Desai‘s 4th published work and 3rd crime thriller. The book brings back the team of Inspector Saralkar and Constable Motkar from Desai’s debut – Killing Ashish Karve. And thankfully so. After a dismissal 2nd book – Murder on the Side Street, where the author attempted with a group of young investigators, I am glad

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Book Review: Punk Sunk Love

The title of the book, a combination of three words, did not make much sense to me. I was hoping reading the book would clear that confusion up and bring a magical connection that will reveal the purpose behind the curious name. With the growing influence of vernacular words on the title, I wasn’t even sure if I was reading

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Book Review: Citadel of Love

Citadel of Love by Pratibha Ray was first written in Odiya as Silapama and is the winner of Odisha Sahitya Academy Award. Translated into English by Monalisa Jena, if there is one word that can describe the experience of reading this book, it is – brilliant! For one the book doesn’t read like a translation and therein lies the biggest achievement for Jena. As

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Book Review: No Safe Zone

No Safe Zone is Adite Banerjee‘s 3rd fiction and this time she dares to steps out of her comfort zone. Her earlier two books – Indian Tycoon’s Marriage Deal & Trouble Has a New Name were pure contemporary romances but this one is romance with a twist and I am sure Banerjee had a blast plotting this one. With this book the

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Book Review: When Love Finds You

When Love Finds You is Yashodhara Lal‘s 4th book; a contemporary romance set in New Delhi. Like her earlier three, this one too is set in the corporate world and is an insider’s story with an alpha heroine, a loveable hero and a sly villain to complete the mix. But unlike the earlier books, one doesn’t come away impressed. To

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Book Review: One Indian Girl

Chetan Bhagat in a recent interview said that many Indian women tell him that he understands them better than most men. If his latest book is anything to go by I think those women are right. I won’t say he understands Indian women completely but whatever he understands, he does understand bang on. So for one, Bhagat has researched really well

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Book Review: Rightfully Wrong Wrongfully Right

Varsha Dixit is back with Sneha, Nandini, Aditya, Nikhil, Gayatri and a new character Viraj. While the first book in the Right Wrong series was Nandini and Aditya’s story, the second one was about Sneha and Nikhil, the third book – Rightfully Wrong, Wrongfully Right brings to the readers the story of diva and vamp from the first two books –

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Book Review: You Are The Best Wife

True stories are the most difficult to review. Like how can a reviewer say that, this part should have been better or that part needed a little more spunk. I mean, it is reality painted on the canvas. It cannot be a shade lighter or darker!! The critic in me wanted to accept this daunting task and here I am reviewing

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Book Review: Wasted In Engineering

The book has one of the most interesting titles and cover images. The title is a thought that resonates among millions of engineering graduates across the country. The cover picture is conceptualised well – one of a ‘wasted engineer’ holding a placard that announces her as a photographer, showing that she studied engineering but ultimately ended up following her passion,

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Book Review: Dear Kalam Sir

Once in a while comes along a book that immediately catapults itself into your favourites. Into something that you want to go to when you are in an emotional turmoil. Into that external support that only words can give. Your go-to book. Dear Kalam Sir is that book for me. Dear Kalam Sir is a very innovative and beautiful coffee

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Book Review: Panorama

A collection of short stories make for interesting reading. I find that it helps when I am stuck in a reading rut, and want to break the shackles. Panorama: A Collection of Short Stories, written by Shilpi Chaklanobis offered such a chance. I had seen the cover of the book earlier, shared by one of my friends on social media,

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Book Review: The Girl Who Chose

Two thousand years ago, the poet-sage Valmiki wrote the Ramayana. It is the tale of Ram, the sun-prince of Ayodhya, who is obliged to follow family rules and so makes no choices. And of Ravana, king of Lanka, who does not respect anybody’s rules or other people’s choices. Over the centuries, hundreds have retold the tale in different languages, adding

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The World of Bisexuality Is A little Dark & A Little Bright With Love: Bhaavna Arora

A hardcore academician, an ace student and a avid, top ranking scholar. Ex-Director of a business school and MBA in both Human Resources & Marketing along with a Ph.D. in Leadership from Pittsford University, our author in the hot seat, is the bestselling author of two absolutely stunning and unconventional books – The Deliberate Sinner and Mistress of Honour. She also trains

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Book Review: When Life Turns Turtle

Indraneel is a successful bollywood celebrity. He has all the good fortune of life, looks, education, fame, personality and a life that looks well settled. At the utmost peak of his life and career, things suddenly take a complete U turn, totally upending his life. Despair and hurt take refuge in his heart as he tries to see through the

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Book Review: Let The Game Begin

Let the Game Begin, a thriller penned by Sandeep Sharma has been classified as a historical thriller by the author. Thriller as a genre often comprises the elements of suspense, mystery, uncertainty and anticipation to keep the reader hooked till the very last page. Historical fiction usually depicts historical figures in fictional scenarios, fictional figures in documented historical events or

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Book Review: That Stupid Bug Called Love & Other Stories

If you have been reading me regularly you possibly, by now, know my love for short stories. Here I am back to yet another short stories collection. Here I go through how each of the 9 stories in this book worked/ didn’t for me: WEEDS: This one is extremely pale. There is no concrete story.It gives a feel that it is

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More Than Dronas, There Are Krishnas In My Writing Journey: Mainak Dhar

A self-described cubicle dweller by the day and writer by night, our author in the hot seat, is the author of over a dozen books, some of which have been bestsellers in India and abroad. These books have also been translated into Turkish, Vietnamese, Japanese, French, German and Portuguese. He lives with a self-assigned target of writing a book a year

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Book Review: Murder On A Side Street

Murder on the Side Street by Salil Desai is the author’s second novel. I happened to read Desai for the first time while reading a review copy of Killing Ashish Karve, which was his debut work. And it was impressive. Tightly written. When I started using Kindle, I came across his second work on a monthly deal and the author’s name

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Book Review: Dark Things

Fantasy fiction, a scarcely explored genre in Indian writing in English; not a genre that Indian readers will pick up easily to experiment for we are badly burnt by the incredibly out-worldly and impossibly illogical stories we are fed on our television, all in the name of fantasy. When Dark Things arrived from Hachette for review and the moment I

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Book Review: My Chameleon Soul

My Chameleon Soul by Sumit G. Sehgal (an international wordsmith with a literary experience spanning eleven years with twenty-nine eBooks in tow) is a contemporary family sage that will definitely touch some of your own heartstrings. There are some moments which you will certainly cherish. And, some of the instances will shake your thinking cap hard and lead you to

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Book Review: Zindagi Live

I have always maintained that regional literature, like regional cinema, is what can enthrall and excite the minds of the story lovers; opening up new dimensions beyond the conventional genres. Thanks to translators and their tribe, the gems of vernacular languages are making way to mainstream publishing and what a pleasure they are on the reading senses. I have begun

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Book Review: Rise of Kali

Like most people would probably have assumed, I thought that the Kali in the book’s title meant the name of the goddess, as in Kaali, the female goddess of destruction until realisation struck in that it was Kali, the last yuga as per hindu mythology. A funny misconception that, given I have always been told the Mahabaratha signified the end of

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Book Review: 2 Peg Ke Baad

I have said it so many times that I love reading short stories. It just feels like an opportunity to read 10-15 stories in the same book. I feel it is a reader’s heaven!! That is why I never leave the opportunity of reviewing Short stories. A Walk With A Call Girl – Simple sweet tale. Perfect Feel good kind of a

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Book Review: I Keep falling In Love With Her Again and Again

You know, when it works, love is pretty amazing. It’s not overrated. There’s a reason for all those songs. – Sarah Dessen         Love is the most interesting topic. To discuss, To feel. It is almost always a favorite genre to read. And stand alone, these novels take you into a dream world, or make you feel emotions that, you, then want

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Book Review: The Mahabharata Secret

What we know of history is only what the archeologists have so far dug out and a story that historians have written. What is there is a story different from what the historians have written? Because the archeologists haven’t found something so far, does not mean it never existed! This is the thrill of historical fiction. A well researched and

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Book Review: Killing Ashish Karve

Crime fiction in India especially Indian writing in English (IWE) has always lacked that one awesome, swish-buckling investigator. Barring the ones in regional literature translations like Byomkesh Bakshi or Feluda, our crime fiction is still very nascent as far as looking forward to a rocking investigator and his/ her awe inspiring criminal invincibility is concerned. Though authors like Piyush Jha

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Book Review: My Father Is a Hero

My Father is A Hero and the overall premise behind it, is one I will never fail to be impressed by. No matter how many men she comes across in various capacities and various relationships in her life, a father is always a daughter’s first hero. So the title is not all that surprising. The blurb attracted me in the

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Book Review: The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur

The Speaking Ghost of Rajpur impressed me with the title. It is one of those titles that promises a good read, if carried off correctly, like I hoped this one would be. The blurb was very exciting and it was with a pleasant anticipation that I began reading this book. The theme of the cover and the caricatures of four

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Book Review: Ghachar Ghochar

Every story is real, every reality is a story. I love translations possibly because so far all the translations I have read, be it Malayalam to English or Tamil to English or Bangla to English, all of them are superlative. Ghachar Ghochar by Vivek Shanbhag was originally written in Kannada and translated to English by Srinath Perur. There are times when

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Book Review: A Guy Growing Old In A Country Growing Young

Reading this book has been like a breath of fresh air. No plot, no thrill, no path-breaking psychological insights into complicated characters. Yet, I enjoyed the read because on every page I read something that a) reminded me of my childhood, b) made me smile because I recognized a similar funny incident/situation in my own life and c) for those

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Book Review: That Woman You See

I absolutely love reading a collection of short stories. This book, That Woman You See by Sujata Parashar has all nine dedicated to women. I just had to pick this one up for the mix it provides. Ganga: She who is pure – This describes the girls of the night. How a girl full of love gets into the flesh

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Book Review: Doppelgänger

There are some books that, when writing about, leave one kind of wordless. They might be extremely good, hardly giving a need to write about them; or extremely bad, making it impossible to find something to admire. The third kind would be those books that tick the right boxes in the right amount, leaving me mesmerized. A collection of stories,

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Book Review: I am Big So What!?

As soon as I noticed the title of this book, I knew it will be fun. In a society like ours where body shaming is a regular practice and marriage is the only testimonial for a good girl; Shuchi Singh Kalra‘s I am Big So What shows a girl who fights against all odds and succeeds in vindicating an independent woman’s concept

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Book Review: Sutak

An endearing novel of self-discovery, Sutak is a thoughtful look at the way in which flawed human beings are wrong – and right. This story is about two sisters and their ever intertwining lives. Lalitha and Vinodini though appear like two different species at a glance have more in common than they ever cared to acknowledge. They are like two

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Book Review: Crimson Abstracts

The question ‘What is good fiction?’ would bring different responses from different readers. For some, it would be the believability of the story, which is not necessarily over the top or unrealistic. For some, it would be the ability of the story to transport them into a world unlike the one around them; a fantasy land where there’s magic and

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Book Review: The Counterstroke

historical fiction provides an opportunity to make connections with the past. And, this is what The Counterstroke by Medha Deshmukh Bhaskaran offers you. It presents a story that took place during a notable period in Indian history. The book takes us to seventeenth century India when Aurangzeb (the Mughal prince) was planning to forge a bloody path to the Mughal throne and Shivaji (a Maratha landholder) had started creating trouble for the Mughal Empire.

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Book Review: The Prince of Patliputra

Shreyas Bhave’s first book The Prince of Patliputra (Asoka Trilogy #1) offers an action-packed story-line to the lovers of historical fiction. Taking a well-known personality from Indian history and weaving a gripping tale on his life is not an easy task. The task becomes more difficult when the personality the author is choosing is a well-known name among his possible

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Book Review: Super Women

Just as a kite flies against the wind, one must defeat resistance or fall to the ground. This is what entrepreneurship is. Take risk, fly high or be ordinary. We all take risks in our lives. Sometimes we take risk because there is no other option and sometimes because that is our choice. Women are inherently risk takers. You ask

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Book Review: In Loving Memory

In Loving Memory is in Haimanti Dutta Ray’s own words a memoir where a doting daughter recounts how she had seen her father the late painter Shyamal Dutta Ray, who passed away in 2005, at close quarters as well as her reflections on the art fraternity to which her father had belonged. This book is not in the genre of

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Book Review: The Legend of Yuckman

Categorized as a superhero fiction, a part of speculative fiction by the author; the story narrated by the author often blurs boundary. A part “social satire”, a part “super-villain” story, a part study of human evolution; The Legend of Yuck-Man begins as a story of exploitation and displacement fostered by greed and augmented by capitalism; however, it soon descends in

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Book Review: The Ribbon Trap

The cover page of this particular book grabbed my eyeballs. Seeing it and without reading the synopsis (a first for me!) I had decided I want to read this one. It lets out such a strong message. Kudos to Geetali for a splendid job. Smita and Krishnaprem are in love. They are ambitious people. Also dealing with their own complications.

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Book Review: The Siege

The Siege is a book on the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai, focused almost entirely on the Taj Hotel, by career journalists Adrian Levy and Catherine Scott-Clark. The duo happen to be married and are co-authors of an impressive array of investigative journalism style books on terrorism. While reading the book, it is easy to forget that the book is fact

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Book Review: It’s Your Life

‘Reflections on contemporary living and relationships’ – the tagline that accompanied this book of collected essays said more about the content than anything else. Having been a Times of India subscriber since it began publishing a few years ago in my city, I have gone through Ms. Nangia’s columns in the special glossy Sunday Times supplement, Times Life. The short

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Book Review: Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron

I picked this book up at the Bombay airport a few years ago and read it on my journey to Delhi. At that point, I just remembered Jaane Bhi Do Yaaron as the movie that had that timelessly funny Mahabharat scene, which as college students we would watch on loop sometimes, on Youtube. The rest of the movie was a blurry

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Book Review: The Rise of Hastinapur

The second book of the Hastinapur duology, The Rise of Hastinapur, concentrates on the second and the third generation of the Kuru clan, mainly the Queens. This book revolves around Amba who was wronged by Bhishma’s actions and whose daughter eventually led to Bhishma’s death; Gandhari, the queen of Gandhar, who was later married to Dritarashtra, the grandson of King

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Book Review: Making a difference

I read this book in tenth standard a few months before the stress of the Board exams began. I am quite surprised that this book isn’t that well known, considering it was quite well written and inspired me (fleetingly) to consider taking up a career in the Civil Services. Ultimately I chose the path of least resistance (with respect to

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Book Review: The Ivory Throne

There has been a dearth of good readable Indian history books and The Ivory Throne helps fill that void. (Other eminently readable and lesser known Indian history books: 1857 by Vishnu Bhatt, Do and Die by Manini Chatterjee). Manu S. Pillai’s Ivory Throne is a fantastic book that chronicles the history of the kingdom of Travancore. To be frank, I only picked the book

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Book Review: The Missionary Position

Written by renowned polemicist, Hitchens, The Missionary Position is a sort of sting operation conducted on the life of Mother Teresa. At 99 pages, it is also probably among the thinnest yet incredibly good books that I have read. Hitchens lays bare Teresa’ life like it should have been. After all, what’s wrong with a little bit of devil’s advocacy? And,

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Book Review: Amritsar – Mrs. Gandhi’s Last Battle

I have recently gotten hooked to Indian history again, after a few years. To be honest, except Guha’s “India after Gandhi”, I wasn’t aware of any good book on India’s history post Independence. And I have recently come across around five… I read Amritsar right after Kuldip Nayar’s fantastic ‘Emergency Retold‘ and loved it. Mark Tully and Satish Jacob take

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Book Review: Anamika

Soorina Desai’s debut novel, Anamika, was first published in the year 2005 and republished in 2015. It is the story of Anamika and Rajbir. Written with an eye for detail, the story describes a time when India had newly gained its freedom. Romance in that era was very different from what we understand today. There’s a certain old school charm

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Book Review: Dhanda by Shobha Bondre

I got onto this book after reading the fantastic ‘Rokda‘ from the same publisher. I am in a phase where I am finding contemporary Indian history interesting, which is why I breezed through Shobha Bondre’s ‘Dhanda‘ in two days. Though I liked the book, it had two major flaws. One, except the Gujarati Mayor character, I had heard of none

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5 Amazing Indian Poets You Should Read, like Now

Beautiful Coffee Table Books

Poetry is an expression of experience, so I noted very recently. When we write, it is borne from that experience, be it emotional or observational, or even inspired by the work of another poet. I love reading. One of the blessings of this life has been that love for reading that has been inculcated in me since childhood. One of

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Book Review: Sholay – The Making of a Classic by Anupama Chopra

This virtually unknown book came to my attention as I was trawling Amazon’s book pages during one of their umpteen ‘Dhamaka’ sales. Filled with anecdotes that went on behind the scenes during the making of ‘Sholay’, I found the book a terrifically fun read. ‘Sholay’ started off as a four sentence story idea that Salim and Javed had about a

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Book Review: Emergency Retold by Kuldip Nayar

I remember asking my mother if she remembered the Emergency in the 70’s and she told me, “Yes, a lot of people went to jail; but corruption went away. Trains, buses used to be on time.” That and the undeniable fact that Indira Gandhi had induced the Emergency to satiate her hunger for power, had been my narrow viewpoint on

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Book Review: The Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan

I was somewhat surprised that I liked The Zoya Factor so much. I expected to merely pass the time on a flight with the book; what ended up happening was that I was perhaps the only one not sleeping (or not trying to sleep) on a late night flight, completely hooked to Anuja Chauhan’s first. The story line and plot

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Book Review: My Days In The Underworld

Agni Sreedhar’s bio on wikipedia reads as former gangster, writer, critic and artist. His book Daadagiriya Dinagalu (Kannada), winner of Karnataka State Sahitya Akademi Award, has been translated into My Days In The Underworld – Rise of the Bangalore Mafia. The translation, by Sreedhar himself, stays colloquial and the tone of the book is naturally street side. What an exciting

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Book Review: Unaccustomed Earth by Jhumpa Lahiri

This was the first Jhumpa Lahiri book I read and from the get go, I was enchanted by the poetry of Lahiri’s prose. It is a little difficult for people who have grown up reading Jeffrey Archer’s short stories – people like me who expect every story to have a beginning, a premise and an end – to fully appreciate

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Book Review: Breaking Out and Making Big

The first thing that I noticed about the book when I saw it was the cover. In an explosive pink color, the cover is cluttered with a huge hyperlink mouse pointer image with little badges surrounding it. Yes, Start-ups in this technical age revolved around computers. For the sake of argument, which business doesn’t? I could make out the title

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Book Review: Byculla to Bangkok by Hussain Zaidi

Syed Hussain Zaidi’s Byculla to Bangkok is touted as the sequel to Dongri to Dubai but it fails miserably, leaving very few traces of coherence in chronology. It is the first time in my life that I have been disappointed by a Hussain Zaidi book; even Rahul Bhatt’s sob story, Headley & I (co-authored with Zaidi), was far more tolerable.

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Book Review: In the Shadows of Death

‘Being an avid reader of crime fiction myself, I have always harbored an ambition to make my own humble contribution to this genre,’ said writer Sourabh Mukherjee in an interview. ‘The story, of course, had its germs in my own interests in human psychology and in the complexities of human relationships, especially in these times of changing social order.’ ‘Also,

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Book Review: The White Tiger by Arvind Adiga

To me, ‘God of Small Things‘ has always been the gold standard for the kind of book that should win a Booker. Booker winning book after book since has disappointed me sorely. The Booker Prize it seems, is more about the one eyed amongst the blind and not really the best book of the year. That said, ‘The White Tiger‘

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Book Review: 1857 – The Real Story of the Great Uprising

Written by a Brahmin mendicant (Vishnu Bhatt), who somehow fortuitously ended up being in parts of India where (and when) the revolt was breaking out, ‘1857‘ is a fantastic book chronicling the first great uprising of the Indian freedom struggle. Vishnu Bhatt wrote the book as a diary – which was published only after his death in the early 20th

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Book Review: Alchemist of the East

“We dream and we actualize those which are closest to our hearts” Alchemist of The East is a story about a boy who copes up with his life after the untimely death of his parents and tries to follow his dreams only to be informed about a legacy he is a part of. Everything that follows adds to the making

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Book Review: Do and Die

I read this book after I came to know the movie version wasn’t really an accurate adaptation of the actual history of the Chittagong uprising. Being a history buff, I really wanted to know what actually happened in Chittagong. Chatterjee does justice to the subject and keeps you hooked even though you know the fate of the uprising already (from

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Book Review: The Curse of Brahma

As a lover of books based on Indian mythology, I opened Jagmohan Bhanver’s The Curse of Brahma with a bit of apprehension. And, there was a certain reason behind that. Lately, a number of retelling of Indian mythologies had disappointed me. But, to my own surprise, this book captured my attention in the Prologue and then I could not stop

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Book Review: It’s Not Right…But It’s Okay

“It’s not right, but it’s okay. I’m gonna make it anyway… Don’t you dare come running back to me… I’d rather be alone than unhappy.” This number by Whitney Houston has been playing on my music system ever since I accidentally discovered it while looking for Anuj Tiwari’s novel of the same name. The song examines a woman confronting her lover about his infidelity.

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Book Review: Shikhandi and Other Tales They Don’t Tell You

There is perhaps a law of diminishing returns with an author. Look at John Grisham – the same guy who gave the world classics such as The Rainmaker or The Testament – also wrote absolute putrid shit such as The Summons, The King of Torts or his latest Theodore Boone book series. It is perhaps a disservice to Pattanaik that this is the first

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Book Review: My Dream Man

Author as a main protagonist has always caught my attention. Also romance is my favourite genre. This book was a combination of both and thus I did not flinch even once to pick this up. Ajopa Ganguly is a struggling writer. Her script has got rejected many times, thus making her not wanting to write any further. She picks up

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Book Review: Borrowed Plumes

When I went through the book blurb for the first time I knew the story is going to be something that is totally unlike other thrillers. As the cover of the book hints, the sole theme of the story is based on the significance of the emblem printed on the cover of the book. The story, Borrowed Plumes, revolves around

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Book Review: Chaddi Buddies

Set in the tiny village of Golvada in Thane, Oswald Pereira’s Chaddi Buddies is a sweet story revolving around the protagonist Robert’s transition from a meek boy to a strong young man. The book is essentially a tale of four friends who grow up together and whose bond undergoes a huge change with coming of age. At the start of the

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Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s Latest Offering ‘You’ve Got the Wrong Girl’ Had a Kicking Kolkata Launch

Love is in the Air!! Astor Hotel in Shakespeare Sarani of Kolkata was all abuzz with excitement. All in anticipation of a book launching event – Sreemoyee Piu Kundu’s third novel – You’ve Got the Wrong Girl published by Hachette India. Following closely on the heels of her female erotica, Sita’s Curse, this new book has generated considerable amount of interest

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How to Create a Fantasy World – Tips on Worldbuilding

Fantasy is not a creation of the modern world. In fact the roots of fantasy go back thousands of years to an age of myths and legends, when wandering storytellers sat by a fire and recounted fantastic tales of wondrous worlds, populated by gods, heroes and monsters. Starting from the ancient epic of Gilgamesh and The Tales of King Arthur

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