Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Book Review - The Newtonian Quest - By Deepak Vidyarthi

Just after "The Left Roof", "The Newtonian Quest" by Deepak Vidyarthi is my second sci-fi fantasy this month. I am a big fan of sci-fi movies but I have read fewer books in this genre. I am glad that Indian authors are entering into this genre with something new. Talking about the first impression, I thought the book is on some nonfiction topic. It was due to cover design. I suggest readers not to ignore this book by the cover. Deepak try to work on cover design ASAP.

Book blurb
Ever wondered how were the great laws of physics discovered? Well, not all of them originated inside a four-walled lab. Some of them had more to it, a fight, a war, an epic tale of adventure behind it.

Yes! Newton, a genius scientist, must travel in time to discover the most important laws of physics and while doing so he must also learn how to fight an army of villains-hellbent on the destruction of the universe. Befriend some other legendary scientists, encounter strange life forms which he considered just a figment of his imagination and meet God- which would totally change his take on life and spirituality. 
This is an untold story of how a mere human transformed into a legend that he was. Find out how Newton unravels not only the most famous laws of physics but also some thought provoking truths of life, the mysticism of death and paradoxes of humanity.
Talking about the story, our main protagonist is Newton. Yes, you heard it right. It is time traveling fantasy of Newton. A fine day one guy came to Newton's door and asked him to accompany him to the future. Being a scientist Newton always asked for scientific explanations. Higgs explained him few things and took him to the year 2026. There he met Master Gulshafa who told him Newton is the Muksal savior. Gulshafa trained him in martial arts and meditation. Newton's journey was not easy from that point onwards. His stay with Gulshafa was very short. Soon he was sent to the year 2020 where he met another master and learned more things. The book has 4 timelines where Newton traveled and did his job.

Well, the book gave me mixed feelings. I liked many things. The concept was different (not talking about time travel) but talking about Newton as the protagonist. It is like "Lincoln a Vampire Hunter". Deepak has explained action sequences quite nicely. Newtons training may give you nostalgic feeling of watching Neo's training from Matrix movie or Goku/Gohan's training from Dragon Ball Z. While time traveling and space journey will remind you other sci-fi movies and books. In marketing, they say give a perfect bundle to the customer which they cannot refuse. The book is written for YA and sci-fi genre and the author has done quite a good job. 

Things I liked
  • Newton and other historical figures as main characters
  • Good pace. Not a single para extra. To the point. At the same time not expressed pace.
  • Action sequences
Things that could have been better
  • Cover - No doubt. Very confusing. 
  • Climax - I found it too much imaginary for sci-fi.
Over all a recommendable book to genre lover. Talking about rating
  1. Cover - 3 / 5
  2. Content - 4 / 5
  3. Characters - 3.5 / 5
  4. Storyline - 4 / 5
  5. Overall - 4 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Left Roof: A Way to the Infinity World

I selected "The Left Roof" by Nathawat brothers just looking at its cover. The blurb of the book was equally interesting. A sci-fi is written for the age group of 10-18 year, 'The Left Roof' can be a good read for the targeted audience.

Book Blurb
Alfred Riston is a twenty-two-year-old college student who is heartbroken by his mother's abandonment of her family. As he attempts to grapple with his pain, he begins experiencing strange visions and hearing a voice that seems to come from nowhere. There is no question that an unseen force is attempting to make contact with Alfred. Now all he has to do is determine who or what it is.
After he and his best friend, Khushahal, decide to investigate the weird comings-and-goings surrounding his old family home, they unwittingly confront hostile guards who seem to be protecting some sort of bizarre chemical experiment. But when he contacts his father to ask him what he knows, he is quickly pushed away without explanation. Now as a series of bizarre clues are slowly unveiled, Alfred embarks on a journey into the past where he learns the truth about his birth that will change everything, not just for him, but for the infinity world.
In this gripping fantasy story, a college student on a quest to learn the truth about himself and his family soon discovers that nothing is certain when it comes to the universe
The story is written around an imaginary world called Infinity. Alfred, a college boy, who is staying with his father, is our protagonist. His parents got separated and his paternal house is locked up. According to his father, Alfred's mother has put the stay on it. But Alfred found some suspicious activity going on in his paternal house. He along with his friend ventured into that house and found an interesting book. During the same time, he witnessed many strange events. Those events led him to a completely new world Infinity. But the moment he stepped into infinity world he became fugitive. And from that point onwards it became an express paced story. Pace became so fast that it didn't slow down until end.

I liked following things about book
  • A new kind of plot. World, race, imagination
  • The way various sci-fi and fantasy concepts mixed up to prepare infinity world. I think kids and YA audience will like it.
  • Cover art. I liked it
Things that I found less interesting or faulty
  • Title - Though reason was given it could be better
  • Multiple confusing twists and explanation. Which I didn't get it. I don't want to reveal which were those concepts
  • Too fast paced storyline. If you miss two lines things get changed drastically.
Overall a good read. I would recommend to kids for sure. Who knows they will love it like HPP. It is a complete set of entertainment which has magic, science, technologies, gadgets and mystery.

Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover : 4 / 5 
  2. Content : 3 / 5 
  3. Concept : 4 / 5
  4. Characters : 3 / 5
  5. Overall : 3.25 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Friday, July 14, 2017

Ponni's Beloved - An English Translation Of Kalki Krishnamurthy's Ponniyin Selvan

Last year I read "Gujarat No Nath" and "Rajadhiraj" by K M Munshi. I loved those books. Since I read those books I added historical fictions to my favorite book genre. Books like Ponnis Beloved reminded me Munshi's books. I just read the first part of five volumes and Sumeetha I am not sure whether I can wait for your next translations. I am already keeping watch on the price of the complete set.

Book Blurb
Kalki Krishnamurthy’s Ponniyin Selvan is a masterpiece that has enthralled generations of Tamil readers. Many authors have written phenomenal books in Tamil literature after Kalki Krishnamurthy, but Ponniyin Selvan remains the most popular, widely-read novel. It has just the right mixture of all things that makes an epic – political intrigue, conspiracy, betrayal, huge dollops of romance, infidelity, seduction, passion, alluring women, unrequited love, sacrifice and pure love.
Ponni's Beloved is the story of Chola Dynasty during Sundar Chola and his sons time. Though the main theme is around Chola Family like Munashi Kalki has used Vandiya Devan as the main protagonist. Vandiya Devan was sent by Aditya Karikalan to Thanjavur to deliver two important messages. The first volume (this book) is majorly concentrated on Vandiya's quest to deliver both messages successfully without getting into hands of Pazhuvetarayar brothers. Pazhuvetarayar brothers were planning the conspiracy. They were restricting Sundar Chola's interaction with his sons. Well, conspiracy didn't stop at Pazhuvetarayar brothers. Even they were also being pawned by someone. I don't want to reveal secrets in the first part. May be in next part we will discuss more about the storyline.

The reason why it took me to finish the book was Tamil names. It was really difficult to keep track of similar names. Many times I rewind pages to confirm characters.

Don't think twice just grab your copy and read it. Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover : 3.5 / 5 
  2. Content : 4 / 5 
  3. Concept : 4 / 5
  4. Characters : 4 / 5
  5. Overall : 4.5 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Thursday, July 13, 2017

The Quest of The Sparrows - Experience Practical Spirituality

Reading The Quest of the Sparrows just after The Evolution of God is like a deadly cocktail of vodka and whiskey. Both are two extreme of one rope. Both books reminded me the famous quote: "Once the God and man met. Their thought 'My Creator'" I liked The Evolution of God and I loved The Quest of the Sparrows. This year has given me another gem in my spiritual book collection. The Quest of the Sparrows is added to my list of "Repeat once in a year"

Book Blurb
Inspired by the life of a sparrow that leads a carefree life, Partibhan, a young and reluctant guru takes off on an amazing journey in evolution. He believes that human beings can become powerful creators, and achieve much more but the desire to secure the future makes them mere survivors. Between birth and death, evolution is the only constant, which humans can achieve by giving up self-limiting practices.
Partibhan sets out to test spiritual principles at a practical level, with the exceptional 600 kilometer journey on foot without money and belongings. He wishes to demonstrate that man’s fixation on materialism and the need to accumulate is overrated: Survival isn’t the goal of life. A much bigger role, a higher calling awaits us.
Can Partibhan and his followers overcome hardships on the way to find the answers they seek? Are they able to prove that spirituality isn’t an impractical concept as many have come to believe but is inseparable from evolution? What insights do they come across? What does their journey prove and what is its power packed message for you? Do they discover peace and joy? How is it different from happiness?
Discover all this and much more in this path breaking, evolutionary new writing that explores the higher meaning of life and demonstrates practically how one can achieve peace and joy while leading a meaningful and creative life.
The book contains only one story but it is portrayed from three character's point of view. The main protagonist of the story is Swami Partibhan. His ascend to his father Guru Parmanand Swami's position is the core of the story. Two more important characters are Nikhil and Sanjeev. Both came to Ashram in Manmar with few goals in mind. After joining ashram as Guru, Partibhan had taken completely new approach. He believed in practical spirituality. He challenged his followers to take a tremendous task of Manmar to Ganpatiphule by walk without money and gadgets. Very few people joined him on this quest and less than 15 finished at the end. Nikhil and Sanjeev's perspective towards spirituality changed completely after the journey. Throughout their journey, they saw various life-changing examples of humility and spirituality. I don't want to reveal characters traits as it might spoil readers experience.

The best part of the story is flow. I kept reading the book in spite of being a busy weekend. I liked the way characters were evolved during their journey. I usually don't like spiritual lectures but the way it was mixed with the storyline, I didn't even feel that it was coming. The author has given emphasis on keeping only positive things in mind. Though one can have multiple negative experiences in wild, the story was kept with at most positiveness.

In today's world it is possible to find religious people but finding spiritual people is a difficult task. The book is written on a similar theme. Not just theoretical spirituality but practical spirituality was preached by characters of the story. The example of sparrow used is eye catching observation. We are always busy in achieving our next goal. What we achieved previously usually become regular and we start taking it for granted. The concept of going somewhere without planning and without money or resources looks scary, but I am thinking of doing it at least once in a life-time. It Let God or supreme power decide the course of action.

Things I liked in book or story:
  • Concept of journey - It feels like we are reading a trekking or adventure book
  • Reasoning of Parthibhan for various situations
  • Overall positiveness (This may be negative for few readers but I liked it)
  • Relevance used with Sparrow
I am recommending this book to all genre people. Talking about rating:
  1. Cover : 3.5 / 5 (Authors should have given more emphasis on cover)
  2. Content : 4 / 5
  3. Concept : 4.5 / 5
  4. Characters : 4 / 5
  5. Overall : 4.5 / 5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Book Review - The Evolution of Gods - The Scientific Origin of Divinity And Religions

"The Evolution of Gods" - The Scientific origin of divinity and religions. Don't miss this book, just grab it. One of the best eye-opening book I have read in recent years. Title-subtitle combination is more than enough to capture readers attention.

Book Blurb
Is there really a God out there, or is it something that human created so we could have something or someone to fear in cases where we go wrong? This book asserts the it is the highly imaginative human mind that invented God using scientific research.For most people it is blind faith in a God that they believe existed, and for some there is doubt as to how this whole concept came about. This book takes you back to the era that was about 400,000 to 200,000 years ago when man and woman just came to existence. About 100,000 years ago, humans discovered language as a form of communication. This helped them analyse and think about the world around them. It makes sense that the things that they feared the most were what they would eventually worship. For example: they feared the cold, so they turned to the sun for help and in turn started to worship it. They felt threatened by thunder and lightening, so they worship the sky. Several years ago diseases came into being which brought about another God that served that purpose. This book sets apart religion and science. It tells us that there is a scientific reason for the creation of every God that is worshipped, and that it is the work of the humans themselves.
We accept the theory of evolution but never thought how religions came into existence. If we want to understand the evolution of religion, we have to start with the evolution of mankind. None of the religion came into existence overnight. It took the journey of centuries for religion to conceptualize. Surprisingly if you study various religion on the earth, you will find drastic commonality. If we apply scientific thought process, we will find reasons why that commonalities exist. Everything started from nomadic people, who started worshiping environment in one form or another. Their evolution and growth with time have given birth to organized religion today. Slowly and steadily author has explained this progress with scientific proofs. 

Things I liked about the book
  1. Cover - Just loved the artwork.
  2. Light and Steady Pace of the book.  
  3. The simplicity of Writing - This book falls under factual or documentary genre, but the author has converted into a thought-provoking factual-fictional book.
Few points that I disliked or found lagging
  1. Few points were repeatedly mentioned again and again. I think they would have been avoided.
  2. Being factual non-fiction, this book should have more images.
  3. Though the author was neutral while narrating the history of religions. But at end of the book, I found author's criticism of Hindu religion, I personally found it too much. It may be his first-hand experience which he may not have observed closely with other religions.
  4. I don't want to start controversies. But the author has kept Islam untouched, I am not sure whether it was his decision or publishers, but readers would like to know about them as well.
This book is not for religious person nor it is written to doubt your faith. It just throws lights on few dark question we have about the origin of religions. It requires completely different pedagogy to explain the complex concept of religion, and I would say the author has done the commendable job. 

Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover Page: 4.5/5
  2. Content: 4/5
  3. Concept : 4/5
  4. Overall: 4/5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

8 Reasons Why You Should Write Book Reviews

We started writing our book journey last year. Today we have completed one year. And it is anniversary time. We would like to thank all authors, publishers and fellow bloggers for their support. On our anniversary we would like to post something different. Though it is related to book reading, rarely one will find a post on such topic.

If you Google about benefits of book reading, you will find hundreds of posts. But one will rarely find content on benefits of writing book reviews. If book reading gives your entertainment or satisfaction or knowledge, writing review of books take you one step ahead. We would like to point out things that we were benefited by following the practice of review writing.

Photo Courtesy Baggout

1) Improve your writing skills
We lost the touch of writing after school/college life. At max we write approval request or emails. :) Review-writing improves your writing skills. Once you start writing, you start concentrating on your grammar and vocabulary. Taking our example, our initial reviews and the recent one are drastically different in content maturity.

Photo Courtesy - Writing.com

2) Make You Susceptive To Feedback
Not every time you like the book, so when you are not praising you are criticizing it. So if you are criticizing someone's work, your reader can also criticize your reviews. It is a feedback loop which tells you how good your writing skills are.

3) Improve Creativity Quotient
If you keep writing reviews with a similar approach, your readers will lose interest in your blog. Not just your readers, but as a (review) writer you also start feeling bored. It is this moment where your creativity takes the front seat and gives you a new approach.

Photo Courtesy - http://blog.iavm.org/persistence-is-the-key-to-creativity/

4) Improve Analyzing Skills
Writing a one-page review of a complete book is not an easy task. It is this phase which makes you understand how much efforts required to write just a book blurb. As a reviewer you have to tell your readers, what was the plot of the book, what you liked and disliked about book, the writing style of the author, any emotional attachment with book/story. So while writing one review, you have to consider multiple aspects at the same time.

5) Increase you grasping power
While writing your initial reviews, you may forget few things to mention. But going forwards, you will make habit of taking mental or physical note of important points. And trust me there is a sharp difference when you read a book just for the reading experience and when you read it for review purpose. 

Photo Courtesy - boldsky

6) Feeling of Twice Read
No doubt about it, writing review gives a feeling of the reading book once again. I cannot explain this part, I am not sure about feeling of other reviewers.

7) Improve You Marketing Skills
If you have given one or two hours for writing a review, you will try to get many readers to your review. Indirectly you think about reaching more and more people. You publicize your review on various social handles. It will give you an idea which platform and what timing gives you maximum audience.
Photo Courtesy - climate-kic

8) Networking & Reach
The main benefit of writing reviews is networking. Do you believe every day I talk with one or another author? Once in a week, I talk with Publishers as well. Your reviews make you approachable to literary society. 

So next time when you read a book try to review as well. If not book then you can try review movie, food, hotel, products, etc. It doesn't require textual review, you can try video review or comic based review as well. 

Saturday, July 1, 2017

A Princess Remembers - The Memoirs of the Maharani of Jaipur

I got my hands on A Princess Remembers by Gayatri Devi in last book fair. At 50 INR in second hand book stall this was a treasure.

Book Blurb
She is the daughter of the Maharaja of Cooch Behar and the widow of the Maharaja of Jaipur. She was raised in a sumptuous palace staffed with 500 servants and she shot her first panther when she was twelve. She has appeared on the lists of the world's most beautiful women. Gayatri Devi describes her carefree tomboy childhood; her secret six-year courtship with the dashing, internationally renowned polo player, Jai the Maharaja of Jaipur; and her marriage and entrance into the City Palace of the 'pink city' where she had to adjust to unfamiliar customs and life with his two wives. Jai's liberating influence, combined with Gayatri Devi's own strong character, took her well beyond the traditionally limited activities of a Maharani. This is an intimate look at the extraordinary life of one of the world's most fascinating women and an informal history of the princely states of India, from the height of the princes' power to their present state of de-recognition.
Maharani Gayatri Devi was the last Queen of Jaipur in Rajasthan. Gayatri Devi was listed in Vogue as one of the most beautiful women in the world.
Gayatri Devi is her highness of Jaipur who considered as the most beautiful women on the earth. In her autobiography, she has narrated her childhood life to her present life. A nicely described book about how kings and queens lived and what difficulties they faced as rulers. The book is divided into three to four parts. The first contains a childhood life of the princess in Cooch Behar and Baroda. Cooch Behar was a kingdom and Baroda was her maternal home of the princess. She shared how her mother single-handedly raised children while coordinating and ruling kingdom. She has nicely described her families' duty along with her life at Cooch Behar.

The second part consists her palace life in Jaipur as Maharani after her marriage. There she confronted a pardah (similar to Hijab or Burqua in Hindu culture) system in India and how free minded women like her face problems in pardah system. This part describes her happy marriage life. There was a sharp difference between Jaipur Palace and Cooch Behar. She had dealt it with a strong and positive mind.

The third part consists situation of various kings of India after independence. They were left without their kingdoms and they felt uselessness. They have dealt situation by participating in elections. Same was the case of Gayatri Devi. Although they have been elected as Member of Parliament from their party named Swatantrata Star, after becoming Member of Parliament her husband passed away. The sudden death of her husband made Gayatri Devi shocked and she made herself busy in fulfilling her husband’s dreams. 

The fourth part consists of the emergency laid by government and its after effects and how she has to go to Tihar jail. She also described her present situation and working. 

She has wonderfully written the life of the princess and its pro and cons. She made it more through beautiful photographs of her life’ memory. Overall nice book to give a look at princess’s life. Talking about ratings:
  1. Cover Page: 4.5/5
  2. Content: 4/5
  3. Story line: 3/5
  4. Overall: 3.5/5
Book can be found at - Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads