Tuesday, March 31, 2020

An Inspiration Book Read - Be Your Own Sunshine by James Allen - Book Review

"Be Your Own Sunshine - Towards a Better Tomorrow" is another book I have been gifted by one of my friends in the publishing industry. It became my companion for almost one and a half-day during the lockdown. The book is written by James Allen one of the Pioneers in the field of motivation.

be your own sunshine

Talking about the content, the book is an amalgamation of four booklets. You may read these sections independently or in a sequence of your own. These four segments are: 
  • As a man thinketh 
  • From passion to peace
  • Man: King of mind, body, and circumstance
  • Foundation stones to happiness and success
Each of the segments starts with a nice pair of lines that you can ponder upon followed by the foreword of that segment. Then comes 5 to 8 chapters of each of the segments. Topics covered in these segments are passion, happiness, power of thinking & visualization, mental stability, habits, spiritual quest. 

If you are looking for a dose of positivity or some inspirational read supported by a proper field expert than this is the book for you. 160 pages of this book are more than enough for a reader to give a good company. If you are reading for self-improvement then I suggest take a notepad & a pen and start noting down the important points given in the book. I am sure that will help you greatly. The language used in the book is simple, even a beginner can read it without any problem. You will find a proper mix of examples and theory (or I would say philosophy) in the book which can entertain you or keep your interest quotient till the last page

I'll give 3.5 out of 5 to this wonderful book.

Book Links - GoodReads & Amazon

Monday, March 30, 2020

Book Review - World's Most Popular Short Stories by Maupassant, Anton Chekhov, Saki, O.Henry

Just before the lockdown, I have been gifted this wonderful book by one of my friends in the publishing industry. I am considering this as a gift because I have not been subscribed to it. And it turned out to be a wonderful present in these trying times of quarantine. "World's Most Popular Short Stories" by Srishti publishers is a collection of classic short stories that have accompanied me for two days in the quarantine period

The book covers short stories by four classical authors, each of these stories captures different human emotions. From each of these classic authors, 5-7 different stories have been selected and a total of 25 stories have been delivered to readers. The stories are as short as 5 to 20 pages long. Authors have been assigned a proper segment in the book, which starts with their short introduction followed by stories written by them.

My favorite stories are
  1. From Maupassant The diamond necklace
  2. From Anton Chekhov the beggar
  3. From O Henry the last leaf
  4. From Saki the saint and the goblin a bread and butter miss
Good points about the book
  • It captures human nature and its complexity with the simplest of word usage. I think that is why they are considered classics
  • The best part about the short stories are you me always keeps you if you don't like it
  • The best companion for your travel for vacation for me it was for a quarantine
My only complaint is a simple cover. It could have been better.

I will give 3.5 out of 5 to this book.

Book Links - Goodreads & Amazon

Friday, March 20, 2020

Book Series Review - Karmic City Trilogy by Hema Myer Sood

If you ask me the count of books for which I have misjudged genre based on cover the count would be in double digits. May be for an occasional reader that might not happen frequently, because they select books after a lot of thinking/researching. But for bookworms like us for whom reading is more like a daily routine, such incidents happen more frequently. I am not going to lie but when I ordered the trilogy of Karmic City, I thought it was an action & thriller packed series. My original plan was to finish the series in the first half of February. But I was dumbstruck when I read the first few chapters of part one, "the city of the Lord Brahma". It was clear that the book is not to devour but to digest. I dropped the plan of reading books in haste, instead, I decided to take the whole series slowly and come up with a combined review. To know the reasons check the full review.

First of all, those who think this trilogy is a mythology or mythology-action thriller then it is a big no. The books are from completely different realms. These books belong to the spiritual fiction genre. 

There are five central characters. The first one is the Soul (he preferred himself to be called one) a spiritual learned person. For his next book, he wanted to go to a serene place, so he chose to stay at a friend's flat. He met Aditi, Virat, Vaidehi & Karthik in that society, who are our remaining four characters. The author, Hema, has wonderfully designed each of these for characters such that if a reader looks around, he will find a combination of these characters' personalities surrounding him. Aditi was portrayed as a person who was looking for a mentor for her spiritual uplifting. Vaidehi, on the other hand, was shown as depressed (& oppressed) but over devotional woman, she was looking for answers about why her life was miserable. Virat was shown as all those normal people who can think but accept social norms generally. Such personality usually does wonders when forced to work according to their own thoughts process. The last category is for kinds of Karthik's, financially stable and successful who think their worldly possessions are indicators of personal growth. 

Now as we are aware of central characters, let me give you a brief of the context of each volume of the trilogy. The first part is "The City of Lord Brahma", it covers the journey of Soul. Here Soul explains the wonderful concept of internal dialogues and ego. Through Soul Hema has explained how these internal dialogues affect our life. It shows that one doesn't need the scripture knowledge but an attitude to obtain real knowledge. The concept is simple but mind-boggling. But it helps us to cultivate positive thoughts, which in-turn help us in a healthy spiritual life.

The second book in the series is "The City of Lord Vishnu". As the name suggests this part takes the support of the Lord Vishnu, his avatars and Bhagavad Gita. It contains concepts: food qualities, the human aura, chakras, kundalini, karmic bank balance and many more. Each of these concepts is calmly explained by Soul.

The last book in the series is "The City of Lord Shiva". In the first two books, Soul readied disciples and asked them to attain spiritual guidance from divine power. He made them re-learn ideas behind Shiva, and how by eradicating our ego we can proceed towards higher realms of spirituality.

What you will find these books?
  • The simplicity of explanation.
  • Wonderful poems.
  • Good quotes and lines.
Book is written for
  • Those who seek spiritual guidance
  • Those who seek work-life balance and tranquility
  • Those feel low in life and blame outer circumstances for their grief
  • It is a serious read. So a casual reader may need to give extra efforts to read and digest the content.
  • The City of Lord Brahma - 4/5
  • The City of Lord Vishnu - 4.25/5
  • The City of Lord Shiva - 3.75/5
  • Karmic City Trilogy - 4/4
Book Links - 

Book Review - Predators and Prey by Abhinav Agarwal

I saw the cover of "Predators and Prey" on the social post shared by Vineet Bajpai. The cover intrigued me and I decided to explore more. I saw the blurb and whatever few reviews that I can find on the net. The blurb and reviews were fascinating enough for me to go for this book. I didn't waste time when I received the copy. Good news for those who have Kindle unlimited account, the book is available on Kindle Unlimited. They should try (or I would say they must try) this book.

"Predators and prey" covers a multi-genre story. The main characters of the stories were Riya, Venkat, and Deva. Venkat was an NSA guy who you took out some data from NSA and fled to India. He knew what are the severities of his misdeeds, so he contacted his old college friend Riya who was working with a media giant company held by Neeraj. Now from there, started multiple twists. In the USA, NSA guys came to know about Venkat's data theft they wanted to take him out at any cost. The data that Venkat had contained the information that can bring the whole Indian subcontinent down. Neeraj wanted this data badly and so was Pakistan and China. Rathore the national security advisor got wind of this information and sent the Deva for the mission to secure data, Venkat and Riya. And from there starts a powerful mix of action, thriller, and suspense. Read the book to know more.

I am glad that I selected this book. This is the first time I have read such a wonderful woven and thoroughly thought of book by any Indian author. In the current digital age, what are the different ways through which government agencies or terrorist can gather information about different people different countries or different geographies is shown in the book? It is very difficult to run away from the system when mobiles, cameras, CCTVs, audio systems or even smart TVs are present at every nook and corner of the country. Read the book to know how they have survived. I would like to appreciate the efforts of the author to conceptualize this story. I may be exaggerating but such cases might be happening in and around the world about which we are not aware of.

I would like to give 5 out of 5 to this book. And say this is a must-read of this year.

Book Links - Goodreads & Amazon

Pilgrim Nation: The Making of Bharatvarsh by Devdutt Pattanaik

Devdutt Pattnaik is among my favorite Indian authors. Along with Amish Tripathi, Devdutt belongs to the group of authors who made me bookworm that I am today. Unlike other authors, especially Indian authors who are writing books on mythology-based fiction Devdutt has created his own genre. His books are more of explanations of various Hindu cultures, gods, Vedic ways, etc. When I got the "Pilgrim Nation" book's mail in my inbox, I was overloaded with review copies, but I put aside all other tasks and took the book. I stood like to thank team Aleph books for providing this lovely review copy.

Before I talk about the content of the book, let me tell you what was my first impression of the book. It is a hardbound book with the cover designed by Devdutt himself. It shows Shravan taking his blind and weak parents to various pilgrims around India. I was thoroughly impressed by the cover.

As the name suggests, this book covers various pilgrimages across India. But what is new? Devdatta has divided these locations as per the time frame/age. I mean to say he started with places covered in Vedic age then went to Puranic age from there he came to Islamic age,  European age and finally temples of today's time. In each of the sections, he has covered many temples & shrines that are of importance in today's world or in previous years. Each chapter is dedicated to one location, which covers where it is located, what are its historical/religious importance, folklore about Temple & duties, and the current state of these temples.

As common with books of Devdutt, chapters are accompanied by various drawings and artworks dedicated to temples and gods residing in those temples. Each of the sections that I mentioned earlier starts with reasoning why the following chapters are combined together. Devdatt has tried to give an explanation of various concepts in and around temples.

I would say Good read for any age group. I would like to give 4 out of 5 to this wonderful book.

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart

Thursday, March 12, 2020

The Winning Sixer: Leadership Lessons to Master by W.V. Raman

Things that I observed when I saw "The Winning Sixer: Leadership Lessons to Master".
1. A title based on sports but subtitle based on management lessons
2. A round table conference
3. A cricket ground has drawn on a round table
I was excited to read the book. I would like to apologize to cricket fans, as I am not a big cricket fan and lacks cricket facts, I was not aware of W V Raman. It was after reading the first chapter and encountering the environment in which the discussion of the chapter started I search about the author. And then it became clear to me that the author is the coach of the Indian Women Cricket team. 

Coming to the content part, I was expecting a self-help book with examples from the authors' cricket career. Surprisingly, the author has destined an interactive content, covering the 5 Cs (credibility, clarity, connect, control and conviction), and 5Ts (Truth, Time, Tango, Thrift, and Theatrics) of leadership. These concepts are not given only for management guys but for people from every domain, be it sports person, student, salaried or small business owners. I liked the way things have been conveyed in the form of questions answers & conversation. Well, the author is a sportsman himself so content has taken good support from various exemplary Indian sports icons personalities covered are not just from cricket domain but from badminton, tennis and other sports as well.

The language is simple and easy to read for any age group. You can read it in a few sittings. This 175-page long book is designed in such a way that you may revise it every year. A short read to remind you pointers that keep your mind on better leadership practices. 

I would give 3.5 out of 5 to this compact book. 

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon and Flipkart

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

A Book Review - The Brahmin Warrior by R. Durgadoss

I have read the first 2 books by Dr. Durgadoss in the Indus Valley Series. His books are just like Tollywood movies, which contain action, drama, mystery & super fast storyline. As given in prologue there are predecided numbers of books in the series and in each book the cursed warrior will be born with unique capabilities at the time of great need. 

This book covers the era of the unjust rule of Islamic Kings over India. These were trying times where mass killing or conversions of Hindus to Muslims were common things. The resident Hindus needed a force that can stop these atrocities. That is when our protagonist Aditya was born. In this reincarnation, he was born with powers to control earth. Raised in Muslim rakhi-brother of his mother, Aditya got an education in Hindu & Muslim religion along with solder training from Mughals and Parshurama. He went on a mission to establish a Hindu Rashtra for his maternal Uncle Hemu. Read the book to know how he fought 22 great battles for his uncle.

As usual, Durgadoss's books are super fast-paced. You will find no extra lines in the story. Every word is tightly around the story. Language is easy, ideal for beginners. You will learn multiple historical facts as well, but you need some serious books to know the actual strategies used during wars. The author has tried best to tie knots of history with mythology & fantasy. This multi-genre books can accompany you on your vacations. 

I am not sure which era would be taken in the sequel. Any guess?
- Aurangzeb-Shivaji times
- Bajirao-Nizam times
- Goan Portuguese
- Keralites Portuguese times
- British era. 

Overall I will give 3.5 out of 5 to this book. 

Book links - Goodreads, Amazon & Flipkart