Wonder by R. J. Palacio [Book Review]

Wonder by R. J. Palacio

Title : Wonder

Author : R. J. Palacio

ISBN : 978-0552565974

Publisher : Knopf Books

Genre : Young Adult

Pages : 316

Source : Self

Rating : 5 stars





Family. There is nothing more important. They’re the ones who show up when we are in trouble. The ones who push us to succeed. The ones who help keep our secrets. But what of those who have no family to rely on? What happens to those poor souls who have no loved ones to help them in their hour of need? Well, most learn to walk life’s road by themselves. But a sad few of us, simply stop trying. -Desperate housewives.

This is the most beautifully written book, or so I thought right after “the perks of being wallflower”. It has all the elements that make you think, assimilate and ponder on all the things that we take for granted. In the eyes of a small boy, in the eyes of his friends and how, though it sounds hard to get, everything has its own explanation if we just stop and think whilst putting ourselves in someone else’s frame of reference. I could not stop until the last page and a story from a boy who used helmet for years t cover himself to a boy who stood in front of hundreds and received a medal for being strong was magnificent. Everything and everyone is beautiful, provided, they have an explanation for their deeds. A valid one and a plausible one.

The universe would abandon us completely and the universe does not. It takes care of its most fragile creations in ways we cannot see. Like with parents who adore you blindly, and a big sister who feels guilty for being human over you, and a little gravelly-voiced kid whose friends have left him over you and even a pink haired girl who carries your picture in her wallet. May be it is a lottery, but the universe makes it all even out in the end, The universe takes care of all its birds.

Review by Pavan Kumar B C

Buy yourself a copy here: Wonder

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The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami [Book Review]

The Strange Library.jpg
The Strange Library by Haruki Murakami

Title : The Strange Library

Author : Haruki Murakami

ISBN : 9781846559211

Publisher : Harvill Secker

Genre : Contemporary Fiction

Pages : 77

Source : Self

Rating : 2 stars




“The strange library” was a good experiment in terms of writing. Yes, it had the typical Marukami material through out. One day a scholar needs to be descended from Murakami’s literary brain cells and explain the module of his intentions in his novels. I absolutely adore his way of writing but this book had its own positives and negatives.

A boy goes to a library to return the book he had finished reading and plans to get more regarding tax litigation. He was told to go downstairs where he meets an old man who is cruel and shred and manifests him into following him after helping him get the book he wanted. The old man successfully tricks the boy into a joy where he is to read for 3 months and his brain would be eaten long after that. The whole story is about the escape.

The book to see is beautiful, quite unconventional but the pictures in them were unnecessary. Sure, dogs, feathers and shoes come in the story but I would not have any problem picturing it instead of wondering how these elements might look like.

And if someone may, please explain the below.

  1. The pretty girl who exists in his own world and the girl in the book he was reading who cannot talk as well, are they same and if yes, how?
  2. What was that the old man coughed?
  3. What did the switch the old man used for?
  4. Why did the narrator’s mother die?
  5. How did the crow escape?
  6. How did the old man manage to find the dog that bit the boy years ago?
  7. How did the bird manage to grow in size and attack the old man?
  8. How did the bird speak and why was the voice same as the pretty girl’s who gives him his dinner?

And the questions go on and on. Are these metaphors for something? Did I fail to read between the lines? I cannot quite understand.

All in all, the book kept me going until the end and this probably is the only novel that I have finished in 15 minutes. So yay.

Review by Pavan Kumar B C

Buy yourself a copy here: The Strange Library

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An interview with Revant Himatsingka

An interview with Revant Himatsingka, author of Selfienomics – A seriously funny guide to living the good life.


Author Photo.JPG
Revant Himatsingka, author of Selfienomics


As a graduate of NYU Stern School of Business, Revant was initially headed for a career in Finance. Soon after, he left his Wall Street job and also turned down an MBA offer from IIM Bangalore in order to pursue his passion for improving the thought process of India’s youth.

He wrote Selfienomics at the age of 22-23 and became one of the youngest authors to sign a contract with Bloomsbury. This is his debut novel.


Please describe your book in one sentence.

Selfienomics is a seriously funny guide to being the best version of yourself.


Tell us in brief, what led up to this book?

I wanted to reach out to a large number of people. As a 22 year-old, you have 4 options to reach out to a wide audience—create a high-quality social media page, make a movie, join politics, or write a book.

Social media is too over-crowded so people don’t take you seriously. Movie and politics require a lot of experience and a team of people. Writing a book is the most convenient option—it requires no experience and can be done individually. All you need is a laptop (or a pen and paper). So I decided to write a self-help book aimed at improving the thought process of the youth.


What authors do you admire?

I am more influenced by directors than authors. I like the way Rajkumar Hirani combines humour with life-lessons. I feel if Selfienomics was written by a director, it would be Rajkumar Hirani. Some of the authors who I like are Stephen Covey, Viktor Frankl, Mitch Albom.


Do you have an agent?



What inspires you to write?

I’m not a writer, I’m a thinker. It’s the thinker in me which forced me to write. I was frustrated at the way people spent their time and money and I had the self- confidence that I could contribute in changing it.


Do you have days when writing is a struggle? How do you keep yourself motivated?

In this age, there are more demotivating things happening rather than motivating. So you have to try and find motivation, rather than wait for motivation. I changed my email password to #Iamanauthor. Everytime, I typed my password, it motivated me to complete my book. This particularly helped when I accidently deleted 2 chapters. I had taken 1 month to write those chapters. I got frustrated. I thought of giving up the book. But the simple act of typing #Iamanauthor made me go ahead with the book and rewrite the chapters.


What are your favorite books to give and get as gifts?

To Give- Selfienomics

To get-  7 habits of highly effective people


Hardest thing about being a writer?

Most writers are either students, or are doing full-time jobs elsewhere. So they typically write in their free-time. If you want to become an author, you have to learn how to make the most of your free time.


Best piece of writing advice?

Don’t overplan. Just begin.


Buy yourself a copy of Selfienomics – A seriously funny guide to living the good life.

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Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli [Book Review]

simonTitle : Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda

Author : Becky Albertalli

ISBN : 9780141356099

Publisher : Penguin

Genre : Young Adult, LGBT

Pages : 303

Source : Self

Rating : 5 stars



“People really are like house with vast rooms and tiny windows. And maybe it’s a good thing, the way we never stop surprising each other.”

It’s not very often that I pick up a YA book but Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda was on my TBR since it has been published and I was finally able to pick it up (and finish it at one go!).

Simon, who is “not openly gay” is slowly falling in love with his “e-mail friend” whom he calls Blue and who studies in the same school as his. But one day another classmate reads the emails and starts blackmailing him. Meanwhile Simon is completely falling for Blue and is desperate to find out who exactly he is.

The book alternates between the story and the e-mail exchanges between Simon and Blue and those are the most adorable part of the book. Harmless flirting, sexual & non sexual attraction, slowly falling in love while things are not going well at school, the desperation to know who your love interest actually is- all these are portrayed so effortlessly but beautifully through the e-mails that I couldn’t help myself from grinning and smiling throughout.

Though I couldn’t get many pop-culture references, but the story, plot and the lovely characters compensated for that. The “coming out” scenes have been written with great depth and understanding and though they are funny, still leave an impact.

“Why is straight the default? Everyone should have to declare one way or another, and it shouldn’t be this big awkward thing whether you’re straight, gay, bi, or whatever. I’m just saying.” 

A short, hearty, adorable book and I don’t see any reason why one shouldn’t read this.

Buy yourself a copy from Amazon here.

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Selfienomics by Revant Himatsingka [Book Review]

selfienomicsTitle : Selfienomics

Author : Revant Himatsingka

ISBN : 9789386141675

Publisher : Bloomsbury India

Genre : Self Help

Pages : 196

Source : Publisher

Rating : 4 stars

Self Help is one genre that I actively resist- that too by all means. So when I received a fresh copy of “Selfienomics” by Bloomsbury India, I was quite skeptical to take the plunge. But then the cover page claimed to be a “funny” guide and the preface further claimed that the book offers “hilarious” advice on how to make money, get the most out of your job, broaden your network etc and hence I decided to give it a try. As evident by the 4 star rating that I have given, I thoroughly enjoyed reading it and to my utter surprise, the book even turned out to be a page turned at various points.

Revant has an eye for detail- he has closely pondered over the issues that the young generation faces, the thought process it goes through and offers genuine advice (in a hilarious way) to how to live better and happier. Every page is full of relevant quotes (some by philosophers, some by well known authors while others are Whatsapp forwards), bollywood-inspired hashtags and witty one liners (Narendra Modi is like Vidya Balan in Kahaani- He just doesn’t deliver). The author is a certified Health Coach and hence it is needless to say that the chapter on Health & Fitness is extremely profound and I really found some tips very handy and useful.

The book is good to clear your thoughts, make you think twice about a particular phenomenon, and to inspire you for change- all these while maintaining a humorous and “desi” tone.

If you are looking for some life-altering advise on health, charity, patriotism, career, finances and self-improvement but are too wary of a typical preachy self-help book, I would strongly advice you to give “Selfienomics” a try. Kudos to the author for an honest, brilliant and impact-creating debut!

Buy yourself a copy from Amazon here.

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The Krishna Key by Ashwin Sanghi [Book Review]

The Krishna Key.jpgTitle : The Krishna Key

Author : Ashwin Sanghi

ISBN : 9789381626689

Publisher : Westland

Genre : Thriller

Pages : 475

Source : Self

Rating : 5 stars





This is my first book of Ashwin Sanghi. A page-turner!

I was told that this is a rip-off of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code. The book indeed has glaring similarities with Da Vinci Code, though it is not as thrilling, and fails to give those spine-chilling moments that a book associated with this genre gives.

Professor Ravi Mohan Saini, an expert in mythology, is arrested on the suspicion of murdering his best friend, Archaeologist Anil Varshney. Ravi soon learns that Anil has left behind a series of clues that leads him to legacy left behind by Lord Krishna himself, the eight avatar of Vishnu, and decides to unravel the secret. Prior to his murder, Anil Varshney had left four seals that he had discovered with four of his closest friends, putting himself and his friends in the path of Taarak Vakil, a serial killer, who considers himself the tenth avatar of Krishna and is out to get what he wants and destroy everything that comes in his way. What comes later forms the rest of the plot.

Though The Krishna Key lacks proper characterization and structured narration, the book is very well researched and is a gripping read for history and mythology lovers. The book has a lot of reference to Mahabharata, the Indus Valley Civilization and the Sarasvati Civilization. The author also talks about a lot of historical and present-day conspiracy theories throughout the book.

The most interesting part of the book is that every chapter begins with the story of Lord Krishna, narrated by Krishna himself, and covers everything from his birth in Mathura to the Mahabharata war at Kurukshetra. This helped me brush up my knowledge of the Mahabharata.

Throughout the book the characters travel to many places like the present-day Dwaraka, the Somnath temple, Mount Kailash and lastly the Taj Mahal. Along the way, the protagonist, Ravi Mohan Saini solves, unlocks and makes sense of the countless puzzles, Sanskrit Shlokas, riddles and hidden messages.

All in all it’s a great book and kept me hooked until the end and that’s what matters the most. If you’re a history and mythology buff, then this is definitely a must read.

Buy yourself a copy here.

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