Tuesday, September 21, 2021

The Stranger in the Mirror - Memoir of Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra

I have been reading Bollywood-based books for the last 4 years. Just like Its movies and songs, Bollywood books also provide unparalleled sources of interest. Especially if you are reading some informative content like behind scene stories, success stories, and biographies of interesting characters. With similar hopes, I have selected "The Stranger in the Mirror" by Rakeysh Mehra. The hardcover book is designed so beautifully that after finishing it I kept it in a seperate collection of coffee table books.

The Stranger in the Mirror is the memoir of the legendary producer-director, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra
The book covers the following aspects of Rakeyesh's life

  • His early childhood days and few interesting incidents of that time
  • His initial struggle from ad-film director to movie director
  • His way of visualizing story, characters & people's perception
  • His strategic thinking about field marketing
  • Behind scenes of movies like "Rang de Basanti"
  • Other Bollywood personalities' view or say about Rakeyesh's life from a personal as well as professional front

The book covers many more things than I have listed above. Though it is a biography you will find it as interesting as a storybook. My observations about the book

  • Easy language usage makes a smooth reading experience.
  • Just like parallel timelines common infections, a biography is written in more than one timeline.
  • Book is not just about Bollywood gossip but full of business insights in and around Bollywood.
  • You will surely enjoy narration covering behind scenes as well.
  • A must-read for movie buff for sure

I will give 4.25 out of 5 to this book.

Book links - Goodreads and Amazon

Friday, September 17, 2021

Twenty millionaires under thirty by Sophia Graham

I have been reading business startup stories almost for 12 years now and they always capture my mind. Being a NITIE alumnus, I always read more of this genre. My favorite author is Rashmi Bansal. Reading success or failure stories give us not just inspiration but new ideas as well. Chanakya had rightly said the smart people learn from other's successes & failures. With the same hope, I selected "Twenty millionaires under thirty" by Sophia Graham.

Twenty millionaires under thirty by Sophia Graham

As the title suggests, you will find 20 chapters in the book. Each chapter is dedicated to one successful personal. The book specifically covers entrepreneurs from the IT & Technology domain. The story coverage is to the point as the book is short only the most important points were covered. You will find a good number of inspirational quotations in the book.

My observations

  1. Fast-paced story writing 
  2. Easy and smooth language usage
  3. Catchy cover design and title
  4. Limited domain coverage when you are covering 20 personalities
  5. Limited content. Only the inspirational aspect was kept high. The author could have shared some strategic points of these businesses
  6. If you are a follower of success stories, you will find repeated sections for many stories about personalities covered in the book.

Still a good book. An especially new entrant can enjoy the book.

I will give 3.25 out of 5. 

Book links - Goodreads and Amazon

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Song of Draupadi by Ira Mukhoty

The diversity of the Mahabharata is so vast that you will get narration from almost any character of it. I have read the purpspectives of not just Pandavas & Krishna but Duryodhana, Shakuni, Karna, wives & sisters of these characters. The most touching of these narrations is that of females who played a pivotal role in the story but were always given a smaller platform than their male counterparts in mythological literature. Recently many authors have taken it to next level and have given females their due platform. In all those literature, the story from Draupadi's point presents a more vivid picture of the Kaurava dynasty's family values.

Song of Draupadi by Ira Mukhoty
When I selected "Song of Draupadi" I was expecting a story from or of Draupadi. Instead, the book delivered more stories than just Draupadi's. Let's remove magic from the epic and now tell me which characters were landmarks in the story. You may give names like Bhishma, Pandu, Dhritrashtra, Kauravas, Pandavas & Krishna. I am not talking about who fought the war, I am talking about why they turned towards war. Why did Bhishma take auth of celibacy? Why did Shakuni take auth of revenge? What happened during Game of Dice? Why did Pandavas share a common wife? All questions will finally end with one or another female character. Ira has painted that canvas for us. Read the book to know more.

Good points about the book

  1. Attractive cover design, one cannot forget such a nicely designed cover.
  2. Fluid language for smooth reading
  3. Diversity in capturing female issues of that time
  4. Strong character building that makes us adore even minutest contributor 

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

Book links - Goodreads and Amazon

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Ganesha's Global Startup by Prachi Garg

My group has reviewed around 5 books of Prachi Garg collectively. And she is on our list of top ten inspirational authors list. "The Legend of a Start-up Guy" was Prachi's and probably among Indian authors' first attempt at mythology-based startup fiction. In that book, she wrote a fictional story around Ganesha's attempts to establish himself as an entrepreneur. Her next book was based on the story of Ramayana-based characters. Prachi is back with her next book and that too sequel of "The Legend of a Start-up Guy".

I think I have discussed enough previous works of Prachi, let's talk about the main book for which I am writing this review. "Ganesha's Global Startup"

Ganesha's Global Startup by Prachi Garg

In the first part, we read that how after mountainous efforts Ganesha got successful in establishing his startup and make it a steady business. He also received good recognition and an award for the same. But as we see in real life, you need even greater efforts to survive and to expand your new startup. This book is more focused on those points. Through this part, Ganesha's story passes through phases like handling funding entities, expansion strategies, sustainable business models, etc. Read the book to know more.

My observations about the book 

  1. Easy language for any age group
  2. Familiarity with Indian Mythology characters' names. Added benefits if you have read the prequel
  3. Fast paced storyline
  4. Self-help bundled with fiction
  5. All basic startup-level learnings were covered in the last part. This book is more about the next level of startups

I will give 3.5 out of 5 to this book.

Book links - Goodreads & Amazon

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

The Sinful Silence by Abir Mukherjee

Thrillers are the best source of entertainment in the reading spree, at least for me. I enjoy it the most and the only competition I get against thrillers are mythology-based fiction. I have seen many reviewers post about books of Abir Mukherjee and I made my mind to read his latest book when I came to know that it's a thriller. The book I am talking about is "The Sinful Silence".

The Sinful Silence by Abir Mukherjee

There are two central characters of our story, DCP Abimanyu, and newly appointed IPS officer, Vayu Iyer. They are faced with a challenging crime where a successful businesswoman was found dead in a locked room. Vayu being a novice officer followed all clues and procedures but found deadends in most of them. Along with that Abhimanyu's attention was divided as he was also after the killer of his fiance. The book is full of twists & turns to make the book unpredictable. Read the book to know more.

Good points about the book

  1. Fast paced story that won't let you put the book down
  2. Easy language usage makes reading fast
  3. Written for the age group of 15+ for lovers of a wider genre reader
  4. Short read gives you a ride for a weekend or short trip
  5. A good mix of thrill, suspense, and drama.

The book deserves 4 out of 5.

Book links - Goodreads & Amazon

Sunday, August 22, 2021

Asur Kanya & Her Route To Unrequited Love by Maneesha Agrawal

I was attracted to the fancy font style of the book "Asur Kanya & Her Route To Unrequited Love" by Maneesha Agrawal. I took a blind call based on a few of the trusted reviewers and got the copy. The book is a fast-paced story fictionally set around early civilization after the great flood. This short read of around 170 pages gave me company for a day or so and I finished this book in 2 sitting last Sunday.

Asur Kanya & Her Route To Unrequited Love by Maneesha Agrawal

Let me give you a brief of the story. As I just mentioned story is based on historical/mythological events of the great flood. Ira, the daughter of Asura king, is our protagonist. Her father had expected her only daughter to join marital knots with Banasur a promising general of the army. She took time a year to explore the world before marrying Banasur. Ira's adventure led her to the Manava settlement of Manali where she met Manu, the chieftain who played a pivotal role during the great flood. Though Manu was married when he met Ira, Ira was attracted to Manu. What will be the outcome of this wanderlust and how will it affect both Manavas and Asuras is portrayed in the later section of the story. Read the book to know more.

Few good points about the book

  • The book is a short and fast-paced read
  • Language is smooth and easy to cope up with
  • Language is age-appropriate for almost all age groups
  • The story is written in and around few characters and encaptures their mindset only.
  • Prequel read is beneficial but not mandatory. I read this part directly and faced no issues.

Few points of improvement

  • Though the author has done some research on earlier Indian civilizations, the story sounds too much like a fantasy tale than a historical one.
  • Though the cover is nicely designed, I have seen people selecting mythology reads based on character-drawn covers, which is missing here.

Overall a 3.5 out of 5.

Book links - Amazon and Goodreads

Sunday, August 15, 2021

AgniBaan: Guardians of the Fire Chamber by S. Venkatesh

The first book of S Venkatesh Was Kaalkoot, which was a nice read. Except for the end, I enjoyed the book and finished in 2-3 sittings. So I had higher hopes with "AgniBaan: Guardians of the Fire Chamber". And I am glad that the author has surpassed all expectations. It wouldn't be an exaggeration if I say Venkatesh has outperformed twice or thrice than Kaalkoot.

AgniBaan: Guardians of the Fire Chamber by S. Venkatesh

The book is written in two parallels. One around 535 CE when around 15-20 months earth atmosphere was covered with dust due to multiple reasons and proved very stressing period for civilizations over the world. And the second parallel is written after the Covid situation where political chaos is going on throughout the world due to multiple reasons. In between this chaos in both parallels we have two strong protagonists as well as two strong antagonists to give us company till we reach the last page. 

The book belongs to the league that of Dan Brown from foreign authors and Ashwin Sanghi from Indian authors. The book shows the depth of research done by Venkatesh. Not just cultural analysis but the author has given vivid details about India's and Egypt's geopolitical situations. He has taken support of numerology and astronomy of ancient times to give us added interest. The book easily glues you to the story, because every place in the book you will get a good combination of fiction with facts. I liked the story and this time I found the ending better planned and written than Kaalkoot. The pace of the story is apt for fast reading, you can read this 350-page story in less than 4 sittings for sure.

Overall a 4.5 out of 5 for this book. And I am putting it in one of the best read of the year and must-read thrillers written in the last decade by Indian authors. 

Book links - Goodreads & Amazon

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