Friday, April 13, 2018

Book Review - Ravanaleela - The One Who Forced God to Become Human

I have first seen "Ravanaleela" by Radha Viswanath's poster on Twitter by Rupa Publication. I was instantly attracted to the book. I have Asura by Anand Neelakantan which is highly praised work. Somehow I felt that this book is another try to show Ravana as a hero. 

Book Blurb
Ravana, perhaps the most popular Rakshasa in Indian mythology, is known as the villain in the Ramayana and the epic would not have been what it is without this great Rakshasa.
Yet Ravana is much more than a mere abductor. Born out of the union of a Rishi and Rakshasi, a devout Shiv-bhakt and a mighty king, Ravana is no ordinary Rakshasa.
This book attempts to bring out a comprehensive and well-rounded character of Ravana. The various little dots of information about the Rakshasa king as given in Valmiki Ramayana have been picked with care, collated and compared with presentations in several other versions of the Ramayana, and the long, hoary lineage of the demon king painstakingly put together to present this villain of villains as a legend worthy of greater attention
The story started with Ravana or I would say Dashagreeva's maternal grandfather Sumali & his brother. After getting boons from Brahma, they have spread havoc in the world. Due to that, devas have to interfere. On request of Deva, Lost Vishnu fought against them and killed the rakshasa warriors, except Sumali. They have been thrown out of their home, Lanka. Sumali (a lone male survivor of the war) took the family of three brothers and lived in Naga-log for years. To take revenge on Devas & get Lanka back, Sumali sent Kaikashi to Rishi Vishrava to have combine progeny of Brahmana & Rakshasha. She had three sons & a daughter. Gradually Dashagreeva came to know about his mother's tragic past and decided to fulfill his mother's wish. He went for Tapasya with his brothers Kumbhakarna and Vibheeshana. But after Tapasya of 100 years, when they got their boon they felt cheated. Ravana was the only one who got a boon which can be beneficial to his mission, his brother Kumbhakarna got Eternal sleep as a boon. Even with all the odds, he was able to establish his iron-clad rule throughout Bharat Varsha. I would suggest you check the book for more.

Some points which I would like to share
  • Book has portrayed Ravana as a neutral character, not a villain like Ramayana or Victim like Asura
  • The author has given more emphasis on the mental turmoil of Ravana and each of the character from his side (Kaikashi, Sumali, Kumbhakarna etc)
  • The author was able to show how it will be felt to be betrayed by Gods or our own 
  • Though Ramayana is lengthy in size, this book covers only Ravana related incidents.
  • The pace of the book (at some places) & the naration style is slow which could be faster and more interesting.
Overall it is a wonderful experience for me.

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

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Empire of the Gods & Creation of Universe God or Big Bang

Ever since I read "The Evolution of Gods" I got a liking for this genre specific to the history of mankind & gods. So I took two books in similar line "Empire of The Gods" by Rajendra Kher and "Creation of Universe God or Big Bang" by Keerthi Kumar Patangay. The first one was more towards accepting Gods existence whereas the later one was more towards our Vedic literature's support for the creation of the universe. As both books have similar background I am combining their reviews.

Talking about the content of "Empire of the Gods", it is two third factual & one-third spiritual. The first part "Were the devas Aliens?" talks about myth & fact behind their existence. It has discussed various conspiratory sculptures, idols, patterns spread across the earth to explain some in-humane or hard to believe points. The second section is covering how the universe, earth framed out in brief then book talks about Gods role & formation. In last two chapter content becomes more spiritual and practical self-help in nature than the scientific.

I enjoyed first 11 chapters. From 12th to 20th chapter, I felt a little bit bored due to my disliking for said genre. Overall an average read for serious readers. Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 3/5
  2. Content - 3/5
  3. Overall - 2.5/5

Book can be found at Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Unlike the previous book, "Creation of Universe God or Big Bang" is more prepared with help of Vedic literature starting from Rigveda, Upnishada & Samhitas. Author has also taken some portion of Bibel and Quran in context of Universe Creation. My personal favorite was the chapter where the author has discussed 10 mysteries that we are scientifically not able to solve fully.

I enjoyed this book more than "Empire of the Gods". Talking about ratings
  1. Cover - 3/5
  2. Content - 3.5/5
  3. Overall - 3/5
Book can be found at Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Saturday, April 7, 2018

Moorehaven Mysteries - Book 1 - Smugglers & Scones by Morgan Talbot

I have received the copy of "Smugglers & Scones" by Morgan Talbot from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Book Blurb
Pippa Winterbourne runs Moorehaven, the Oregon Coast’s quirkiest bed-and-breakfast and former home of world-famous mystery writer A. Raymond Moore. Guests come there to write their own crime novels. When a real-life murder takes a local’s life and washes a handsome boat pilot into her arms, Pippa is yanked into a deadly plot of her own. A tangle of secrets crashes past into present, and Pippa must uncover clues dating back to Seacrest’s Prohibition days, including a secret Moore himself hid from the world.

Juggling her book-writing guests, small-town intrigues, secret club agendas, and a possibly fatal attraction, Pippa must sort fact from fiction to know who to trust before a desperate killer claims a final revenge nearly a century in the making.
The protagonist of our story, Pipa, is a hostess cum manager of Moreheavan Bed & Breakfast in a small town Seacrest. It is a unique hotel where only authors can reserve rooms and work on their book. The place was previously owned by a famous thriller writer Raymond More. It had many of his first book copies, diaries & manuscripts. Things were normal until one night Pipa rescued a tour pilot Lake from a blot near the sea. Things became interesting as a dead body of Lake’s boss was found in the same boat. If that was not enough another murder taken place in next two days. From normal boring life, Pipa & her inn’s author guest entered into shoes of Sherlock Holmes.

The book is written in a unique style. It was formed so casually you won’t feel like reading a thriller book (except climax scene). A light read which can give you company on lone evening or travel. I didn’t have to give much efforts to continue the book.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover – 3/5
  2. Characters – 3.5/5
  3. Concept – 3.5/5
  4. Overall – 3/5

Book can be found at Amazon USA & Amazon India
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Thursday, April 5, 2018

Kaged Muscle – Action Packed Comic

Till now I have read only mythological comics from Vimanika comics. So I was considering them as mythological comic maker, but Kaged Muscle has completely changed my perception.

Kaged will take you to dark action thriller set in USA underworld kind of situation. While taking out his drunkard friend from bar our protagonist (A star/celebrity trainer) met with street thugs. A small fight started with abusive conversation converted into a big mess which took many lives. Though I was considering our hero as martial arts expert only but the author has kept something under sleeves at the end of the volume.

Somewhere I felt that content was missing, scenes were full of action sequences only. Not recommended for kids below 16. Overall I liked it.

Talking about ratings
  1. Cover – 3.5/5
  2. Artwork – 3.5/5
  3. Concept – 3/5
  4. Content – 2/5
  5. Overall – 3/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Book Review - Khwaabon Ka Safar with Mahesh Bhatt

The biggest benefit of reading is “it will leave you informative”. "Khwabon ka Safar" is one such book. It left me with many facts about Indian film industry called as Bollywood.

Book Blurb
Relive the golden era of Hindi cinema with Mahesh Bhatt as he recounts the Khwaabon Ka Safar (the journey of dreams) of iconic film studios in India.
Did you know that German filmmaker Franz Osten partnered with an Indian studio on some of India’s earliest blockbuster films in the 1930s? Do you know which production house invented the Hindi ‘formula filmmaking’ style in the 1950s that still drives big budget Bollywood films?
Khwaabon Ka Safar with Mahesh Bhatt takes us through the incredible journey of Bollywood’s landmark film studios which gave us iconic stars and cinematic masterpieces. This book provides the captivating stories behind Bollywood’s top thirteen studios—from Prabhat Film Company (1929) to Filmayala (1958) with which the studio era ended.
The book weaves in various interesting anecdotes about our erstwhile studio system, the great entrepreneurial skills of the forefathers of Hindi cinema, their iconic films and the superstars they created.
A must-read for all film aficionados
Talking about content, book covers around 10 studios/production houses of India from 1930-1960. Those were the times when films were produced inside studios. These studios had most of the things required to make a film, starting from shooting sets, orchestra/music department, processing lab etc. Those were the times when people working in the studio starting from janitor to actor-director were on fix wages. Each studio had a great dependence on its founder’s philosophies which can be seen in types of films they make.

It was good to know that compare to today’s commercially successful movies directors/producers wanted to make more impactful movies. Many such movies got/won awards at international level. They created the stage & platform of today’s Bollywood & regional cinema. Bollywood Indian Cinema today makes more movies than another part of the world. It also generates an equally big number of job & respect. I liked the book.

Talking about rating
  1. Cover – 3.5/5
  2. Content – 3.5/5
  3. Overall – 3.5/5
Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Book Review "Yamraj Number 5003" by Mrinal Chatterjee

A well built, but bored Yamraj in its cover and a colophon saying that he gets emotional which causes a cosmic chaos so much that even Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar feel jittery; my curiosity was piqued by this thin read which already is a translated version of an Odia best seller.

Book Blurb
What happens when a clone of Yamraj, the Lord of Death, gets emotional and upsets the power structure in Devlok, the realm of Gods?

Yamraj Number 5003 is the story of one of the thousands of cloned Yamrajs in Mrityuloka. The Yamrajs are supposed to carry out their duties like robots, but by some fluke one Yamraj—code-named #5003—has a ‘manufacturing defect’ by which he can think and feel, making him ‘different’. He begins to question the status quo, shaking the very foundation of the power structure in Devlok, making the divine trinity—Brahma, Vishnu and Maheshwar—jittery. What happens when they decide to take action against the erring Yamraj? Woven with humour, this multilayered novel will move the readers as well as entertain them. Originally published in Odia and translated into Assamese, this hugely popular novel is being published in English for the first time.
“Yamraj Number 5003” is a simple plot story where Yamraj 5003 (a clone of original Yamraj) spares one life and it causes a modern media like scandal uproar amongst the Gods. 

The book is written in mostly third person narrative but there are times a second person narrative is used as well. It felt like a modern-day remake of the movie “Lok Parlok” which I had watched many years ago which dealt with a similar situation.

The author has given the Hindu Gods a human touch. The Gods here behave like office employees. Narada plays his role well as a nosy journalist. Be it the human characters like Sumati and Subrata or be it the Holy Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwar, no role is overused. Mrinal Chatterjee has given apt justice to every character.

There are times especially in the first half where the storytelling becomes too much and the plot is paused too often. But overall this book is enjoyable and considering it was written around 20 years ago no wonder it was a best seller.

For Mrinal Chatterjee’s humorous short read my rating for “Yamraj” would be 3/5.

Overall Verdict:- Simple, humorous and worth a read

Book can be found at Amazon & Flipkart
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads

Book Review "Gurgaon Diaries Life, Work and Play in Drona’s Village" by Debeshi Gooptu

A "Malgudi days" like cover, an abstract description of Gurugram/Gurgaon in its colophon, a need to read a different genre book (I had been reading modified Indian mythological fiction for way too long) and a friends recommendation for the same was all that was needed read “Gurgaon Diaries”. 

Book Blurb
Modern-day Gurgaon was Guru Dronacharya’s village, a gift from the Pandavas and Kauravas for training them in military arts. While the legends of the mythical village are woven around the warrior mystic, the Millennium City, as it stands today, owes its rapid growth to globalization, outsourcing and the BPO boom.
From swanky malls and skyscrapers to pot-hole-ridden roads where gleaming Mercs vie for space with rickety rickshaws; from voluptuous North Indian aunties and brawny local men to rotund Bengali mashimas; from designer stores and Starbucks coffee to roadside vans peddling chole bhature; Drona’s village is riddled with contradictions, both hilarious and poignant, irreverent and bittersweet. Gurgaon Diaries is a humorous peek at the workings of this modern-day village and how the Millennium City is a paradox in itself
“Gurugram diaries” is a diary of a wimpy aunty who (like most of us) has a problem with everything and resorts to humor and hypocrisy to engage us with her 19 years of (probably true) life experiences to keep us entertained. 

Take any Indian city that suddenly goes on a development spree (in this case Gurgaon) bringing its own set of problems due to the sudden urbanization. To that add a gym-hating, Gaurakshak fearing, foodie aunty with a not-so-good Hindi who is being driven to the walls by her obnoxious neighbours and a society that wants to give a convenient desi flavour to western culture (a one devoid of its politeness and responsibility I might add) and wants her to be a part of it in spite of her tremendous dislike in some cases. The familiar confusion and frustration of adjusting with all of this and an occasional delight of finding the known amongst the unknown are all explored with the excellent use of witty jibes throughout the book.

The book is written in first person narrative. The chapters are short, sweet and non-related. The book is mostly written in a light vein but there are some dark parts which feel forced, misplaced and disconnected. There were a lot of favorite relatable moments especially from “Horrors of Halloween” and “Mind Your Language” to name a few.

Debeshi Gooptu truly proves to be a master of dark humor, using simple language to engross us with the familiar experiences and outbursts that we encounter every now and then. 

For Debeshi Gooptu’s engrossing, simple,  but well written humorous banter, my overall rating would be 4/5.

Overall Verdict:- Simple, funny, overdramatized sprinkled with a good sense of humor

Book can be found at Amazon
Review from other readers can be found at GoodReads


Mail Subscription