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This book has no plot, no gripping action and when you put it down, you don’t feel any sense of achievement. It’s rather tiring, and exhausting to the point you open Netflix and start watching some meaningless show.
The Catcher in the Rye is a long monologue about Holden Caulfield and how everything in his world is pitted against him. As monologues go, we get to see only Holden’s justifications, and his explanations about his actions leave the reader dissatisfied.
The book begins with Holden Caulfield, our phony protagonist, and frustrated teenager, getting expelled from school because he cared little for school to the point of not attending an exam. The school management and the Principal, already tired of his behavior, ask him to leave. Holden, the rich entitled teenager he is, decides to spend the next two days in New York before going home. In these two days, he drinks a dozen jugs of alcohol, hires a prostitute, goes on a date with his ex, just to tell her rude things, gets into brawls and eventually becomes depressed and decides to leave his family to make his ‘own way in the world of adults’.
Holden treats everyone as Phonies and despises himself for becoming one. The book deals with the themes of transitioning into adulthood, the loss of innocence, the universal frustration that is crippling teenagers, and the idea of finding your place in the world. Holden clearly has no idea where he fits and lacked the guidance to move forward. He wants to hold on to his childishness, but he is also aware that the world doesn’t work like that. He wants to move forward, but he never gets over the death of his little brother, and living in a dysfunctional family makes things only worse.
He thinks hiring a prostitute (and he asks her to talk to him and do nothing else) and drinking gallons of alcohol would make him an adult. He believes doing adult things like having sex and drinking, would make him an adult. He never realizes that he’s trapped in his childhood.
Holden is a rich kid with a skewed view of the world, and a whiny brat. Sure. I believe we all were entitled and whiny in our teens. But, that’s the point of this book. It’s about Holden’s battle with the world and finding a place in a world that doesn’t care about his brother’s death, his abuse, his parents’ relationship, and a hundred other things Holden clings on to and worries about. That’s the underlying message: You have to move on, irrespective of what happens, and how fucked up your own world is because the bigger world will not let you remain the child/adolescent you wish to be. There’s this beautiful piece of writing that describes the loss of innocence and sums up Holden’s thoughts.
When Holden’s sister Phoebe asks him, what is it you want to be when you grow up, he says:
R. R. Madan’s ‘Aa Naluguru’ is an exemplary example of how many thought-provoking questions could be asked in a single story. While giving his protagonist a learned and principled personality, R. R. Madan makes a mortal possession like money his antagonist.
Throughout his story, the writer reveals how most people are stuck chasing the foolish dream of grabbing as much money as possible irrespective of the consequences. As the story unveils, the audiences are asked many questions. Should we believe in astrology? Is an eye for an eye a true form of justice? Is there a shortcut to achieve success? Is it our duty to help the fellow members of our society?
While R. R. Madan answers most of the above-mentioned questions in a clever way, there is one question that he continues to ask throughout his story and this question is ‘When given a choice to choose between values and money, what would people choose?’
Though in theory, personally many of us might say we would choose values, the reality isn’t that easy. Through this story, R. R. Madan shows how money could even make a principled man kneel before it. ‘Aa Naluguru’ is a tragedy that is well written while paying utmost respect to all of its characters.
Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes - A book that should be read again and again till its message is truly unveiled.
When I was reading Harry Potter for the first time, I deliberately kept postponing reading the last few chapters, as I didn’t want the book to end. At the same time, I also wished to finish the book as soon as possible.
I felt like, “This book must end, I can’t take this emotional turmoil anymore and I am not ready for it’s message.”
My curiosity got the better of me and I decided to keep going. The last page left my eyes moist, legs trembling. The world around me seemed to slow down.
Adoration, disgust, hopefulness, loneliness, love, peacefulness and shame are some of the emotions I felt while reading this short novel.
The story of this book is simple. There is a guy in his thirties named Charlie and he is mentally retarded. He works in a bakery and has always wanted to become smart. So he let a few doctors perform an operation that was earlier performed on a mouse named Algernon after its reported success.
Few months post operation, Charlie becomes a genius and gets to the point where he can speak a dozen of languages.
Trying to understand what was done to him, Charlie starts learning and even finds a flaw in the research analyses. He reaches to the conclusion that he’d eventually become much worse condition than what he was, just before dying.
One day, the mouse on which this operation was performed dies... so shall Charlie dies as well? Was he back to his retarded state? Please do yourself a favor and read the book.
Honestly, this book made me think of my priorities. We all live in a therapy culture, where a few of us are very fortunate to have everything we hoped for and we live like couch potatoes while the others aren’t lucky or gifted enough to have what they want but still lead a happy life.
A lucrative job, beautiful partner, May-September romance, a big home etc. are a few dreams most of us possess in our gigantic economic machine and some of us work hard to fulfill them. But our life isn’t complete by this and there is a lot more to it. At one point Charlie says, “I realize emotional problems can’t be solved as intellectual problems.”
In another section, after Charlie becomes a genius, he laughs at people who are less intellectually gifted. What moved me was his confession in his diary stating, “Only a short time ago, I learned that people laughed at me. Now I see that I joined them in laughing at myself. This hurts most of all. A 35 year old child (mentally retarded) may not know how to feed itself or what to do about it, yet it knows hunger.”
I almost lived the life of this man for the past few months. There’s nothing wrong in that, but everything will lead to remorse, guilt and regrets. If you want to do something for someone, do it because you love them, not expecting anything in return, not even a thanks.
Be it your wife, girlfriend, child, mother, father or friend. All of them shall die someday and that should make you love them even more, but most of us are caught and trapped by life’s nonsensical pleasures and pains.
“I don’t know what’s worse: To not know what you are and be happy about it, or to become what you’ve always wanted to be, and feel alone.”
Flowers for Algernon: Thank you for this message. If you are a person, I’d hold your hand longer than necessary, look into your eyes and I’d repeat my thanks and appreciation a hundred more times.
I have never had a good opinion on self-help/management books except “Think and Grow Rich” and “The Magic of Thinking Big”. I don’t blame the books or the authors, maybe it has always been my fault because I kept reading the books without applying their offered principles. It was like learning a tip and thinking about how simple it would make my life but moving on without giving it a try.
This week I had a chance to read the book Corporate Avatars by Disha Chhabra. In the beginning, I was reluctant to even open the book, as I learned that the author is from an Indian Institute of Management, complete credit to Chetan Bhagat. After a few pages, I became too reluctant to put the book down.
What is Corporate Avatars?
People who work in IT, MNCS and other giant companies come across different kinds of people, with whom they work in their day-to-day life. As an employee in one of these IT companies, I can assure you that we become more proficient in understanding personality traits than psychologists. Corporate Avatars is a satirical take on all those personalities we encounter. This book offers some humorous, efficient tips to lead a stress-free, happy corporate life.
Are the Avatars really the ones we encounter?
Disha has covered almost all types of personalities we encounter in offices, right from Mr. Workaholic to Mr. Notice Period. She offered some instantaneous suggestions on how to deal with them. I felt some of them were practical and wise but a few repetitive. This book kept me chuckling from the beginning till the end. Disha really has a good ground in explaining complex, idiotic and irritating characters with good humorous stories. Honestly, I like the stories more than the tips she offered.
How were the tips the writer offered?
Frankly, I was mesmerized by the stories and the situations that were cited which made the tips take the backseat. If you are living a stressful corporate life and if your boss/colleagues have mastered the art of torturing you, this book should be on your reading list. Find out the character type matching your boss/colleagues and apply these tips.
What about the writer?
Disha has a good knack for telling stories and keeping her readers engaged. As the writer mentioned in prologue neither did I waste any time reading this book nor did she waste her time writing this. She also mentioned that her life was semi-robotic in office/work environment despite having exceptional colleagues and is planning to become a lady baby and I am sure she would soon become one. I strongly urge her to write more not that I am in a position to suggest her, (unlike Mr. Suggestions) but I would like to see a satirical take on corporate issues in a fictional story and I hope you’re taking my suggestion, unlike my beautiful colleague who joined our team last week.
There were times when the author got carried away with her emotions probably while writing her experiences. She wrote in the author’s note that “The only thing you probably share with most of your colleagues is a mutual desire to never see each other again” and I think this is not always the case. Many of us dislike our colleagues/managers but not all of us wish to never see them again. I felt some aspects were generalized which should not have been done. Later, if there is a Mr. Male chauvinist in one of these personalities that Disha mentioned than there should have also been a Ms. Feminist too. I believe that sometimes in the veil of feminism women are given an advantageous position.
And the book, should you read it?
God, I finished this book in one day. If you are a weekend movie lover or an employee in any corporate firms and have money to spare, I ask you to buy this book and heartfully laugh. You can thank me later!
The art of writing a family drama isn’t simple. Especially if your story has all emotions in it. This is exactly what Srikanth Addala’s ‘Brahmotsavam’ tried to do. The writer through his story wanted to convey the essence of life and honestly, this story could have done it.
However, Srikanth Addala’s ‘Brahmotsavam’ is filled with so many characters that many of them did not even serve a single purpose meaning their existence wasn’t important. Then why did Srikanth Addala create so many characters? Because his story is based on a huge united family but I suppose that this united family in the director’s imagination is a single entity rather than so many individuals. So when a huge family is considered as a single entity, what happens is that the members of this specific family serve no individual purpose.
Let’s assume that every one of us considers the family to be a single entity just like Srikanth Addala did. Then will ‘Brahmotsavam’ story make sense? Unfortunately, no. This is because even after letting go of some characters without paying attention, ‘Brahmotsavam’ isn’t complete. Many elements shown in the film are not interrelated since scenes in the film do not follow a sequence and new characters keep popping up now and then. This leaves the audiences the task of connecting the dots using their imagination. If they do not connect the dots, the audiences are confused!
So if characters were given a proper introduction, if the necessary context for every scene is established and if the story is written cautiously, will ‘Brahmotsavam’ work? Yes. It might have been a decent thought-provoking story. However with scenes jumbled, dialogues being ambiguous and a few characters brought in for no specific reason, Srikanth Addala’s ‘Brahmotsavam’ failed in conveying its main purpose and it is unfortunate as the story’s motivation was fascinating.
One of many things I still love since my childhood is reading fantasy stories. Glorified Kings, wars, slaves, and magic amaze me. However, most of the books I read were penned by foreigners. Though we Indians have our own Chandamama stories and Amar Chitra Katha novellas excluding Puranas and historical fiction books for many reasons, not many writers in India have attempted to tell a story of a king who was born of their imagination but I would say Rise of Sivagami is a grand beginning.
In the past, it was books being adapted to be filmed, but now it is vice-versa as writers are attempting to create a backstory from movies. S S Rajamouli, a renowned film-maker while he was directing Baahubali movies (The Beginning & The Conclusion) asked writer Anand Neelakantan to pen the story of Mahishmathi.
Writing a prequel to the story of the movie Baahubali: The Beginning which was a spectacle is not an easy task as it is not just another random story. Anand Neelakantan, the writer of Rise of Sivagami must be applauded as he wrote the history of Mahishmathi in just six months, without missing many details.
I was personally awestruck when I read, Sivagami saying, “I swear, I will destroy the Kingdom of Mahishmathi!”
I kept on reading the book and the pace was brilliant. Despite its flaws and too many characterizations, Rise of Sivagami stands up to the grandeur of the Baahubali movies.
The plot of the book revolves around Sivagami, daughter of Devaraya. Though Devaraya is a noble man, he is executed by the Mahishmathi King for treason.
Mahishmathi was initially occupied by a powerful tribe called “Vaithalis”. Vaithalis gave shelter to an orphan named Uthhama Varma and he steals their secret Gaurikanth which is the source to make invincible weapons. Thus, he hunts the Vaithali tribes with those weapons and the tribals are forced to flee their homeland. Finally, Uthhama Varma establishes the Mahishmathi Kingdom.
The story starts in the era of King Somadeva, grandfather of Amarendra Baahubali. Somadeva is blessed with two sons, Bijjaladeva and Mahadeva. Bijjaladeva, as picturized in movies (played by Nassar) is filthy and arrogant while Mahadeva has the opposite traits of his brother.
Coming back to the Gaurikanth, a blacksmith steals some of it from the arsenal of Mahishmathi years later. With this, the tribals attack the Mahishmathi palace. Prince Mahadeva defends his kingdom and earns the title of Veeradeva. Sivagami whose sole aim is to destroy Mahishmathi, saves the King from an attacker. So, she becomes a bhoomipathi (kind of royal executioner) and the first man she has to execute is the one who fostered her.
The book didn’t answer many questions and I don’t criticise the writer as it was planned to be a trilogy. Hope the author unravels the mystery beautifully. What I like the most is the pace as it kept me glued till the end. I also liked the story as Anand Neelakantan wrote the history of Mahishmathi in less than 500 pages elegantly. Along with the story, there are enough sub-plots to keep the reader engaged. The description of rebellion was awesome and is the first of its kind in Indian writings.
However, what I didn’t like is that it has too much violence. There were rape scenes and the descriptions of molestation which I couldn’t help but dislike. Along with that, there were too many unnecessary characters.
Baahubali movies have got their own identity but in terms of global standard, they lack many elements. However, Rise of Sivagami can live up to the global standard. I personally find it similar to the first installment of “A Song of Ice and Fire”. Now, we have our own George R. R. Martin who writes a great deal of story in less than an year, with same intensity in violence and incest. I really wish that the writer finishes his next book as early as possible since the first one has ended on a cliffhanger.
Every time I pick up a book to read, I always pray to god that I shouldn’t end up hating myself and the author. I had many such experiences but, there was this book titled “Everyone has a Story” by Savi Sharma. Thanks to my cousin who said this was the best book she read this year, apart from “This was a Man.” She also stated that the author is going to be the face of the Indian writing!
I took her advice seriously, bought the book only after reading the prologue and trust me it is well written and is one of the best prologues I had ever read from an Indian author. Thanks to the prologue, I decided to read the book.
In one stretch, I moved from chapter to chapter and voila the book was done in two hours. The cover of the book suggests it is an inspirational one. Now I am so inspired that I want to express what everyone should know before buying this book!
To begin with, “Everyone has a Story”, has a basic plot of a routine Bollywood film with too many twists and some great philosophical dialogues. Meera, the protagonist is in a search of a touching story which would move millions of hearts, sees this handsome guy in a cafe, instantly realizes that she found her story. The only question that boggled my mind was, how come an author realized that she found her perfect story as soon as one sees a person?
Leaving that for a moment, Meera’s boyfriend named Vivaan, wanted to quit his job and travel around the world. Okay, you must have read Thoreau, Emerson or Bill Bryson, but the way his character was paced is irritatingly stupid. The way Vivaan and Meera talk in their conversations looked like they were reading each other’s WhatsApp statuses.
There is a moment when Vivaan tells “If traveling was free, they would never see me again”. Okay! You have read enough quotes in social media Ms. Savi, but don’t write them as your words, trust me it is really irritating. On the contrast there is a character named Kabir who happened to be a love failure with a heartbroken past and most of the boys would connect to him.
Ms. Savi might have read enough Paulo Coelho and James Allen books as she played with their quotes and added some quotes from Tumblr and Facebook to make it into a book. Everyone in the story talks like veteran philosophers, with long dialogues, page length stories and of course more inspirational quotes (Oh please!)
Though it lacks realistic sense, I want to appreciate the author, for writing a book like this with some bottom level philosophy and a typical Bollywood drama. She has great marketing skills, the way you promoted your book on Amazon and Facebook, really helped her to reach that Million Copies Sold mark. Her writing is simple, honestly, I felt magical at places and it would attract many novice readers. I must admit that she has a great potential, but she must make sure that she has a great story that moves millions with good character depths.
I would like to buy “This Is Not Your Story” by Ms Savi and am personally waiting for it, expecting it to be a bit more reasonable. I want to be that lucky buyer who can win a writing workshop with Ms Savi Sharma to learn some marketing strategies from her.
Out of the numerous writers who wrote stories about love, Oscar Wilde set his mark by writing the story, The Nightingale and the Rose. He represented materialism with a female character. He also showed how an eternal sacrifice will be futile if it isn’t for a proper cause. He describes to the reader about love in such a fascinating way that every reader will be reminded about their love for loved ones.
When it comes to real life, the author wants us to judge correctly whether someone’s love is real or materialistic. The person who does it will avoid heartbreak. This was wonderfully shown through the student character who failed to understand that the girl he desired was materialistic.
The author explained through Nightingale that, if there is one feeling which cannot be precisely defined, it is love. The author encourages us to learn a lesson from the experience of a student with a girl who was materialistic. The concern shown by Nightingale was beyond usual and it cared for him so much. The best character of the story was the tree. It was a witness to Nightingale’s sacrifice, yet it still could not tell it to the young boy. The tree alone explains the bitter reality of life, as most of the time, we know the truth, but can’t express.
The Nightingale and The Rose is a definite way of explaining how poor choices would leave us astray, while sacrifices made without proper reason are futile.