Confessions of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler

JaneConfessions of a Jane Austen Addict (Paperback)
Author Laurie Viera Rigler
Price Rs. 727
Publisher Plume
Page Count 304

The intriguing title of the book made me choose this book. As a big fan of Jane Austen’s writing, I wanted to know what this book was. This is a Jane Austen inspired comical account of a tale where the protagonist Courtney Stone suddenly wakes to find herself inside the bedchamber of an unknown woman in Regency England after a broken engagement. She is far away from her home in Los Angeles and seems to occupy a body of another woman. Courtney is stuck into another woman’s and is also forced to pretend that she is another woman.

The book has some enchanting anecdotes from the Austen world about chamber pots, the elaborate gowns, dirty coaching inns of those times. There also is the strict code of conduct for single women, chaperones and marriages of convenience.

It has a subtle humour with charming descriptions of the balls in Assembly rooms, journeys to London and Bath and the interactions between Courtney and Mr. Edgeworth.

This is a delightful book for Jane Austen’s fans.




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The Journey by Brandon Bays

The JourneyThe Journey (Paperback)
Author; Brandon Bays
Publisher: Harper Collins 2011
Price; Rs. 250

This book is about a journey that leads to freedom from emotional issues that get translated into physical ailments. It is an account of how the author healed a basket-ball sized tumour in her uterus naturally. The process she followed involved no drugs or surgery but a mind-body wisdom approach with interesting techniques.

It offers practical methods to go through a healing journey. It also makes an interesting read as Brandon narrates the incidents in her life along with the inner journey.  It offers great insight on close relationships, importance of letting go, and forgiving yourself and others for whatever happened in the past. Brandon has a healing course based on her ‘journey’ for people to connect with their souls and experience healing in both mind and body.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part is about the emotional issues, and the second part speaks about the physical issues. The healing comes from connecting the mind and the body and uncovering the layers of emotions.

This book needs to be read and contemplated. It can help many to find the cause of dis-ease in their lives.

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Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha

women-and-the-weight-loss-tamasha-100x100-imaddb3ajfzafa7jWomen And The Weight Loss Tamasha (Paperback)
Author-Rujuta Diwekar
Publisher: Westland (2011)
Price: Rs. 200

Do you know the secret behind the toned look of Kareena Kapoor? Well, she eats Parathas which she loves. She eats whatever she relishes and still manages to look gorgeous. If I tell you that you can eat all your favourite food and still lose weight will you believe ?

I am not joking but just stating the fact emphasised by Rujuta Diwekar; that food and eating should be revered and not transformed into a business where you have to pay to give up, (lose Kgs). The book talks about myths about food, weight loss/gain and dis-ease.

Rujuta Diwekar has the credentials that help you to accept the ideas in the book. She emphasizes the importance of been healthy and happy. The weight issues will take care of themselves when you eat properly, exercise and relax.

There are anecdotes about how women sabotage by not thinking about themselves, neglecting, becoming non-entities and complaining.

Rujuta advises you to take care of yourself take time out to relax, enjoy eat and cook your favourite food. She offers real-life examples from all walks of life. A book which helps you to let go of myths, misconceptions and give you a diet for life is worth buying.

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Plants as Persons A Philosophical Botany

Matthew Hall – Author
SUNY series on Religion and the Environment
Price: $75.00
Hardcover – 245 pages
Release Date: May 2011
ISBN10: 1-4384-3429-4
ISBN13: 978-1-4384-3429-2

After taking the plant life for granted by most of us, it is time to challenge our set ideas by reading this interesting book, Plants as Persons: A Philosophical Botany by Matthew Hall.

The book starts with a meticulous examination of Western thought from Plato, Aristotle and early botanical history. The author also examines Buddhism, Hinduism, Jainism and Pagan Mythology. He argues and requests readers to rethink and reconsider the moral standing on plants. Using both religious and scientific pllels to give us the idea that plants are more than what we as humans feel. They are intelligent beings and should get due respect.

The author feels that plants are not given the same respect as animals or human life, which is often the reason of cutting away the trees and vegetation. This mostly comes from the attitude that plants are believed to be lower forms of life. Different religious beliefs are described without taking any stand, and the reader is left to form his opinion. This book explores plant Kingdom in a broader way.  In many ancient religions, plants are revered and treated as sacred. The nitrogen cycle interestingly connects the earth with the atmosphere which underlines the importance of plants for life to exist on this planet.
Botanists and environmental scientists will find the book helpful.
The author is Research Scientist at the Centre for Middle Eastern Plants, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh.

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The Twentieth Wife

Title: Twentieth Wife – A Novel
Author: Indu Sundaresan
Edition: Paperback
ISBN: 0143028588

Reading ‘The Twentieth Wife’ by Indu Sundaresan was an enriching experience. I have had the pleasure of reading Indu’s books and so was sure that this would be an excellent read.

This debut novel of Indu Sundaresan takes you back to the Mughal era through the pages of history. It is an enchanting tale of Mehrunnisa, who was born penniless but the caravan of destiny took her to India, where ultimately she became an Empress.  It is this journey of Mehrunnisa the twentieth wife of the much married Jahangir which is the theme of the novel.

Mehrunnisa was the daughter of a Persian refugee Mirza Ghyas Beg who came to India in the time of Akbar. Her early life was spent near the Mughal court, and her impressionable mind found the aura of the court extremely fascinating. She was eight years old when she encountered Prince Salim for the first time. From the day, she decided that she wanted to marry the prince. What followed  is a fascinating tale of an almost unrequited love laced with jealousy, gossips and politics.

Through the pages of the book, we get a glimpse of the Mughal court, the power behind the veil in the so called ‘powerless’ Zenana. Intriguing, bewitching and evocative, Indu writes to captivate. Her language is spellbinding and visual descriptions create vivid images of the lush landscapes through the seasons, the flowers and fruits of the region, rituals, weddings, jewels and the silks of the Meena Bazaar.

Little yet beautiful details of the place and the atmosphere give you a feel that you are walking through the roads and lanes of the cities of Lahore and Agra few hundred years ago. Aptly described food and cuisine gives a stunning picture of the shops selling delicacies and exotic dishes cooked in the kitchens.

A historical novel must have facts. The author needs to sift carefully through the contradictory information available to include some and effectively camouflaging with her own imagination Indu has done this exceptionally well.

This book is a part of the Taj Trilogy. The other two books are ‘The Feast of Roses’ and ‘Shadow Princess’. Though the books are interrelated yet can be also read independently. However, if you read one, you can hardly resist reading the other two.

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The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

The Mistress Of Spices (Paperback)
Author: Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
Publisher: Black Swan (1998)
Price: Rs. 349
If reading a book can be called a culinary experience then reading this book is just that. Aroma, fragrance and  taste the book gives you all. It is through spice jars from the kitchen shelves that Chitra Divakaruni weaves her magic.

This is a story of Tilo, who walks a path where destiny takes her and gives her a magical life. However, everything comes for a price. She has to undergo a total transformation and become an old woman to use the wisdom. Tilo, trained by the First Mother is the chosen one of the spices. She helps people to cope with their sorrows, joys and pain. Her own life is almost like that of a prisoner but destiny takes her to strange places. While helping many Tilo encounters her own pain and sorrow. What happens must be read to experience the beauty of the story.

It is truly a ‘delicious’ read. Chitra Divakaruni has successfully documented the journey of the priestess is literal and philosophical. The book is surprisingly light to read and flows smoothly. Spices are almost like characters of the story the saffron, cinnamon, bay leaves and ginger all play a well-defined role.

If you enjoy reading a blend of philosophy, myth and culture this is the book for you. Read it slowly to enjoy and ‘relish’, even if you are enticed to turn the pages too quickly, the book is just beautiful. The Mistress of Spices has been made into a movie.

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Riddle of the Seventh Stone by Monideepa Sahu

The Riddle of the Seventh Stone
Author- Monideepa Sahu
Ilustr. Pooja Pottenkulam
INR 195
ISBN 978818988480

This is an adventure story for the young readers (age group 9-12 years) and offers a glimpse to the vermin world. The main characters are a rat and a spider.  The readers get along with as the action takes place in the lanes of the Bangalore city.

It is a refreshing to read about characters, which are familiar and easy to relate.  Shashee the spider and Rishabh miraculously transform into human beings in the daytime.   The story tells you how Rishabh and Shashee help to save Venkat Thatha’s house from a greedy property dealer. Readers travel with  Rishabh to solve the cryptic clues to find King Kempe Gowda’s treasure.

The author has weaved in the special characteristics of spiders and rodents in the story. Funny situations arise as these two live the life of school children in the day. Technology is explored through the perspective of insects and rodents. The computer savvy rodents sending vmails (vermin mail) sounds hilarious. The creatures are portrayed well enough to make them adorable.

It is a great read for the young readers who will definitely find it absorbing. Even adults will enjoy this thought provoking tale.  It can be a good gift for birthdays and other occasions.

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Truly Madly Deeply

Truly Madly Deeply

Author: Faraaz Kazi
Format: Paperback
Language: English
ISBN: 9788122311648
Code: 9565R
Pages: 303
Price: Rs. 175.00
Publisher: Pustak Mahal

This novel takes the reader through the school campus where love blossoms in the midst of exams and extracurricular activities. Truly, Madly and Deeply, is the story of Rahul and Seema two students of a school.

It is a story of love that happens between a popular guy and the most accomplished girl of the school. It is a love at first sight for Rahul. However, Seema is unable to understand. The book starts with a prologue and progresses through flashbacks. Rahul and Seema are faced with obstacles and hurdles in the form of misunderstandings, envy and jealousy.  Rahul goes abroad for further studies and is unable to come to terms with the separation. He becomes an enigma for others.  They go on with their lives and what follows is an emotional saga.

Farhaaz Kazi has depicted the story, visual details and the school atmosphere comes alive for the reader.  The book is filled with quotes and couplets, which depict the author’s love for poetry. The cover of the book is attractive with one colour theme and an image that symbolises the loneliness of lost love. The longing and isolation are palpable from the cover itself.

This is the first book of the author. The book is meant for teenagers and youngsters but it can be enjoyed to a certain extent by adults too. True when you read it as an adult you may feel a little out of place however as you have experienced this phase of life you can relate.

A fast read the book should be a good Valentine Day’s gift for the young readers.

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The Splendor of Silence

Title-The Splendor of Silence
Author-Indu Sundaresan
Genre-A Novel
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published September 12th 2006 by Atria
ISBN-0743283678 (ISBN13: 9780743283670)

The Splendor of Silence

On a fateful May morning in the year 1942 Captain Sam Hawthrone arrived at Rudrakot on a personal mission. However, destiny had other plans for him. It is fascinating to see the fabric of interwoven destinies play a tale of forbidden love.  This is a story of Sam and Mila the daughter of the local political agent, a story of four days which last a life time.

The novel begins twenty one years later when Sam’s daughter Olivia receives a trunk with a letter from India. As she reads the letter the long silence surrounding her childhood is filled in with hushed tones.

While she finds out about the passionate love between her parents readers also get to know about the Mila and Sam’s journey through those troubled times and racial prejudice.

The author has accomplished an impossible feat. A tale of love sometimes has an overdose of sentimentality. Indu has written it effectively with just the right emotions.

The story moves with a graphic description of Rudrakot a desert kingdom in Rajasthan, which was a princely state with autonomy to the British India.  Lyrical passionate, visual and charming the story gets etched in your mind as the landscape, the season and customs form a lovely backdrop for the novel. Historical realism makes it a touching account of love.

The novel is well researched with evocative details, which make it extremely visual.  Two of her novels were international bestsellers.

This book will take you through the magnificence of the desert landscape as you walk through those four pre-monsoon days which prove a turning point in Mila and Sam’s life. This sandstorm of destiny that claims everything will probably make your eyes misty.


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The Memory Keeper’s Daughter

The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards

   The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
Penguin Paperback
432 pages
May 2006

“Photography is all about secrets,” David said […]

“The secrets we all have and will never tell.” (201)

The image on the cover of this book is very evocative. As you read the pages you can feel its aptness. The story touches the core of the reader’s heart as it makes him smile, cry and at times weep.

The novel starts with Norah and David Henry waiting for their baby to be born   David is a doctor, who is also an amateur photographer. The first pages feel like slow shots zoomed out until the story finds its focus in the coming pages.

Their baby comes unexpectedly early on a night of a snow storm. All plans made by Henry, as a father and a doctor have to be altered. The gynecologist is unable to reach. There is no choice but for the father to take up the role of the doctor. With the help of the nurse Caroline, he delivers the child, a healthy baby boy. Within minutes, he realizes there is another baby, and he is going to have twins.

The novel is set in the 1960 when few ways were available to find out about twins.

As doctor David looks at his tiny daughter, he immediately realizes that she has Down’s syndrome which spells a grim future. Within no time, he takes a crucial decision to give away his infant daughter to a care home. He does not want her malady affect their picture perfect world. He asks Caroline to take her to a home a little away from the place. Caroline finds herself in a difficult situation where a part of her rebels and another part agree. Torn between love and duty she goes away with the infant on that fateful stormy night.

Dr Henry tells his wife Norah that they had twins but one of them was a still born. Meanwhile Caroline takes the baby girl away to the home, but decides not to admit her to that place. While coming back her car breaks down near a gas station, and she meets a stranger who helps her to return to her home. Caroline takes two days to think and decides on a plan to relocate with the baby. At the last minute, she takes a chance to meet Dr. Henry and finds a memorial service for the still born daughter.

She goes away to another city as fate carries her. What follows is a tale destiny weaved.

A powerful novel which explores human relationships as life takes unexpected turns. It captures the drama of life as if in photographs. Uncannily, Dr. Henry is also an amateur photographer who loves to click interesting pictures. His pictures speak the silent words in the novel. Family ties help in surviving tragedies as long-buried secrets become known.

Kim Edwards had deftly crafted this novel. It lingers in the reader’s mind for a long time. No wonder it was a New York Times Best Seller in United States. This book was also made into a movie.

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