Wednesday, March 17, 2021

No true love in Tehran - Book reviewed

 

No True Love in Tehran: An American Trip to IranNo True Love in Tehran: An American Trip to Iran by Kareem Aal
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kareem is an American of Egyptian origin hence he does have an inkling of the Arab culture so his trip to Iran is not a huge culture shock for him.
I enjoyed reading the first half of the book and then the interest slackened.
Kareem does give some wonderful insights into the political and cultural circumstances of Iran hence it is a recommended read to get a glimpse of life in Iran during its turbulent times.
The author's thoughts keep jumping between life in the USA and Iran to find analogies for the stark differences and this is disturbing at times.

I will give below a few excerpts from the book to give you an idea of what to expect.

When you have a problem with someone, you should talk, Sanjar often said. Not doing so, or setting prohibitive conditions to doing so, could only mean that both sides desired the impasse...The result was that the citizens of each country had little chance to speak with one another and bypass the trolls guarding either side of the divide with their aging arsenals of propoganda.

Self-importance: that is the scent in the air of New York.

An hour with a man of learning is better than a thousand years studying on your own.

It was a place where you had to rely on people - not a system - if you wanted justice.

I don't undesrstand how someone can say they just love God or Jesus when they don't even know how to love another person!

I began to understand the larger goal of censorship: getting people's own minds to do the work of the police.

Perfection is a return to a preconceived notion.

It was the conditioning I had as a middle class American: you could go out anywhere and get served hand and foot, but to have someone serving you in your own home was both economically and culturally questionable.

What I learned was that they desired to do ordinary things without being subjected to extraordinary attention.

Freedom is an opening with sharp edges that disfigures some and refines others.


Overall a book worth reading.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Monday, December 28, 2020

The Case of the Canterfill Codicil - Book review

 

The Case of the Canterfell Codicil (Anty Boisjoly Mysteries, #1)The Case of the Canterfell Codicil by P.J. Fitzsimmons
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I opted to read this as I love all the genres that Fitzsimmons claims to indulge in simultaneously. After reading the book I realized that he does indulge but I found it difficult to manage Wodehouse type humour with armchair mystery solving.
The concentration on the language is so much that almost till I had finished the book I had forgotten that I am reading a mystery book.
My humble opinion is that the author finds it difficult to be flippant and mysterious simultaneously.

I quote below a couple of excerpts to give you an idea of his writing prowess.

Vickers turned from the dresser and looked at me as though I'd come through the door in a suit of armour, carrying my head under my arm.

You show one of the London property developers a tree, they go into a blind rage, they do, and before you know it, they'll have it down and replaced with a terraced townhouse.

The interior of the tavern was of the cool, quiet, eternal twilight found in all the best pubs regardless of the hour or season. The only source of light was slices of sunshine that sneaked through the cracks to find and illuminate lazy particles of dust.


A book that is a conflict between easy reading and wanting to finish to get to the bottom of the mystery. For me, the former won and I read it at leisure.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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Friday, December 4, 2020

Book of Snark - Book review

 

Book of Snark: Wit & Wisdom for the Angry Professional Woman on the BusBook of Snark: Wit & Wisdom for the Angry Professional Woman on the Bus by Tension Mounts
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A book that I would carry to a dentist appointment or to read at the bus stop or in the security hold area while waiting for a flight. It has the abiiity to distract your from the rigours of waiting and keep you chuckling at how the world behaves.
It is a collection of thoughts that you might have surely thought but not penned hence it is more of an affirmation of the strange plastic world we live in and she has managed to put these thoughts forward with a great sense of humour.
It is a great book to be read in short doses as it doesn't have a plot nor is there any storyline but just a collection of snarky thoughts.

Here are a few gems to whet your curiosity and arouse your desire for more -

It's not good to be popu;ar at work because you will get assigned to the hard jobs first.

I have been cleaning my apartment all afternoon and will now enjoy the five minutes it stays that way.

I want to know why the most expensive furniture is also the ugliest.

All water has been pissed out of some creature at some point in time


I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.


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Monday, November 30, 2020

Witch - Book review


 Reads like a book that has been written for a lark. Fun in parts but drags you through the 1st half of the book. The last 25% of the book is comprehensively written with a lot of thought and clarity and is what made me give the 3rd star.

It is a two in one book. A tale about the relationship between a mother and her daughter and how they deal with life and fidelity. Adding to the atmosphere are their husbands and children and how they cope with their parents and grandparents.

The character of the Witch could have been better fleshed out. Though the Witch is the central character of the book, I found the character of the daughter more interesting.

I found it to be gossipy in nature and a collection of short stories picked out from scrapbooks.

The most intereting line from the book for me was -

Now you look like a proper witch. Let those wrinkles breathe! Be proud of those age spots. Don't hide them under a veneer of camouflage squeezed from the glands of tortured animals!

Disclaimer : I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

Notes from Nepal - Book review

 

Notes from NepalNotes from Nepal by Joshi Mukard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very well written book about adventure travel in Nepal. A tongue in cheek account of the Nepali way of life and the typical characteristics of the Nepalis.
I had always been fascinated about the Annapurna Base Camp trek and have read quite a few travel stories about it but this one beat them all hands down. However the tedious and tiresome the trek might have been, the author gets it across with dollops of humour. You will not turn a single page without a smile.

Here are a few excerpts to give you an idea of the laughs that you are in for when you read the book.

Some of the wooden planks from the flooring have gone missing, creating enough gaps for an average sized person to fall through effortlessly, and kill themselves by smashing their heads on round inviting rocks below, which appear to be there just for this purpose.

I even reply with a never before elaboration to forwarded Good Morning messages to people whose messages I never once bothered to even open,...

My odd behaviour is not a side effect of over-drinking. It feels like I'm saying my goodbyes.

I had already compromised on my dream of sleeping in a bag that doesn't have somebody else's fart collection.

Intriguingly, the latest news that's out there on the internet about bear attacks in the area dates back to 2014. I don't know what happened to the bears after 2014. It cannot be like they just called a meeting, held a referendum, and elected to remove humans from their hit list.


It is a one sitting read. Perfect for short flights or lonely evenings or just about anytime you feel like uplifting your spirits.
I bought this book on Amazon Kindle for a measly 99/- Go for it guys. It's worth every rupee spent.

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Friday, November 13, 2020

The City that barks... - Book review

 

The City That Barks And RoarsThe City That Barks And Roars by J.T. Bird
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A unique way of introducing characters in the book. The author has carcatured all characters by giving them characters of animals. This is different from giving long drawn out characterisations and much simpler to communicate what the author thinks of a particular person when he sees him/her. It takes time to get into the groove while reading since its unusual but picks up in the second half of the book.
This is a mystery involving the police and townspeople. It has not one but a few main characters and though one may find it strange to follow in the beginning, is fun and interesting towards the end. The story is dated 1952.
To get an idea of how the author introduces the characters and weaves an intriguing tale I will give a few excerpts below.

Enter Detective Jake Bear; the furry white giant clambers out of his ride.

Numerous pigs in uniform exit their vehicles, each of them officers...

Detective Hudson arrives - fashionably late as always. He's crammed in a corn yellow shirt struggling to cope with his size and it's smeared with fragments of breakfast.
manning the barbecue in the gardens behind his
Chief Vulture isn't the only one not congregating with all the hordes on the streets. Mason Gator is busy manning the barbecue in the gardens behind his restaurant.


As a novelty it's worth a read.

I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.



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Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Introspection on a road trip - A book review

 

From A Wonky Path To An Open Road: A short book about a long journeyFrom A Wonky Path To An Open Road: A short book about a long journey by Janey de Nordwall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a beautiful book about the journey of life of the author interwoven cleverly with a road trip to Scotland in a vintage VW van. A sort of autobiography on the go. It is a unique travelogue which keeps the reader engaged right through.
She talks about the travails of being an introvert in a world which demands you to be an extrovert. She also shows how people are generally friendly towards travellers and extend all possible help on the road though the same is not necessarily true in the journey of life.
She is on the road for 40 days and 40 nights in a 1970s Volkswagen van that was the rage in the 70s. It was the de facto transport for road trippers.
Here are a few excerpts from the book to give you an idea of her writing.
At the outset she lays down the ground rules.
As a single woman who lives on her own I know the difference between being alone and loneliness
Then she goes on to describe the reason she has set out on this road trip.
So, no, I wasn't brave to go on a solo trip, I was in fact indulging in the opportunity to make my own decisions, to breathe deeply and entertain silence, to build my own fires and to get lost without anyone telling me I was lost. Ultimate freedom.
Her experience of meeting new people on the road. The lovely thing about meeting new people on the road is that you connect in a different way. No history, no shared memories, just new stories, new points of view, new ideas, new laughter. You can enjoy an unconditional friendship knowing that you'll be moving on soon and may never see each other again.
Then she goes on to show how dependent we have become on internet to be happy on the road.
whenever I stopped at a cafe or a bar the first thing I'd ask was if they had wi-fi. From the air of desperation in my voice and my widened eyes it always felt like I was asking for a methadone hit and they looked at me like I was a junkie.

I could identify with a lot of what she said, being a traveller myself.
As the tag line says it is a short book about a long journey. A perfect companion for your travel times. I could not put it down. A rarity for a non fiction?
So guys go for it, it is a refreshing change from the run of the mill travel books.


Disclaimer
I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.

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No true love in Tehran - Book reviewed

  No True Love in Tehran: An American Trip to Iran by Kareem Aal My rating: 3 of 5 stars Kareem is an American of Egyptian origin hence ...