Saturday, June 15, 2013

Shadow Princess : Book review

This is the first book that I'm reading in the historical fiction genre. This book starts with Mumtaz Mahal's death and how devastated Shah Jahan becomes after his wife's death. Shah Jahan's children are quite young during this time and the emperor goes to the extent of giving up his throne, for he is overcome with deep grief at the loss of his dearest wife.  The elder daughter of the emperor, Jahanara becomes the Padshah Begum of the harem and she has to take over a lot of responsibilities on her shoulders. Shah Jahan is too close with Jahanara that the father wishes that his daughter stay with him forever without having a life of her own.

The story goes on to describe both the camarediere and the rivalry  that the royal siblings have share among each other. This book captures the story of the royal prince and princess along with the emperor between Mumtaz Mahal's death and Shah Jahan's death. The book also has chapters dedicated to the the Luminous Tomb, aka The Taj Mahal, starting from the desire that Shah Jahan has to build a resting place for his beloved and how the architecture and the fine details are put together to build one of the seven wonders of the world.

The book gives a glimpse into the way of life for the inhabitants of the royal family in the Mughal era. This book is mainly centered around Jahanara , as to how she goes about performing her duties in the royal harem, how she adored her father that she dismissed the idea of living with her her lover and son even when she was older. How she rightfully thought that the heir to the throne was her eldest brother Dara and how she  was such a back bone of a support to her father during all those years of his grieving.

The history narrated in this book is flowing well and easy to understand and follow. Those who are sceptical about the very word "history"can rest their fears  and though this book is supposed to be the last of the trilogy by the author Indu Sundaresan on the Mughal rule in India, this book can pass on for a stand alone one. I have not read the previous two books , and I didnt feel the need to have read them before going about reading this one.

A highly recommended book. Can be read in between thriller or romance novels. 

The Rescue by Nicholas Sparks : Book review

I bought this book as a result of TGND's suggestion after reading a quick review of the book. I wanted to try out different authors and different genre of books. And I enjoyed reading this book.

Denise is a young single mother to little Kyle and works night-shifts to make ends meet with her income . Little Kyle has developmental problem with speech comprehension and talking fluently. One day, Kyle gets lost during an accident and Taylor, a fine fireman rescues Kyle. An unexpected meeting between Denise and Taylor in a departmental store gives a fresh start to their relationship. Kyle adores Taylor and Taylor fills in perfectly for the role of the father whom Kyle has never had . Taylor is unable to commit himself into this relationship . All his previous relationships with his ex-girl friends also have broken abruptly due to unknown reasons. The story goes around unfolding day-to-day life in their neighborhood and Taylor's past which is haunting him , because of which he is unable to commit himself to any relationship and the circumstances that lead to how Denise and Taylor make a happy family for their kids.

A very simple story, beautifully narrated. The Rescue can be any boy-meets-girl, fall in love and get married types. But , the everyday life in a small town , the emotions of characters in the story are well described. Though at some point of time while reading the book, one can be sure that there will be a happy ending, there is something that makes you want to know under what circumstances would everything in teh story fall in place..This remains the suspense element. More than everything, the love between Denise and Taylo, though a well-mature one is very good. The character of Taylor is well portrayed as a handsome lover and a beloved father.

I would highly recommend to read this book.

P.S: I wanted to jot this down here for posterity : That I stayed home on a working day (aka work from home)  in order to finish this book. If it was not possible for me to work from home that day, who knows I would have taken the day off too ..

Thank you TGND for the recommendation. 

Seasons for likes and dislikes too

We all have our own likes and dislikes . I've had a tendency for sticking on to a specific kind of food or particular style of dressing for a period of time, before shifting my allegiance to something else for a certain duration in the next cycle.

These days, the season that is ruling over me is "Book Season" and wrt junk food, its the Pani Puri. 

I'm not an avid or a voracious reader. Growing up, I used to read the Young World or the stories in the Non-Detailed books which formed a part of the school curriculum. Only during college times, I became aware of  the world of MnB's and Sidney Sheldons. It was just awareness and not really picking up books to read. Only after I joined the IT band-wagon, staying away from home, I enrolled in a local library near the hostel where I was pu up in Bangalore and started reading Sheldon, Archer and Agatha Christie. It was only after wedding, when I used to find S buried in a book, I picked up a few of them which were in his collection. Even then, I did not get addicted as such..There have been many months when I haven't touched a single book. But, there have been times when I read back to back too..So, my seasonal liking towards books was evident then.

But, last 3 months, I have been both buying and reading books like crazy. We are regulars at the Bangalore Book Festival last few years, and occasional buying as and when we feel like wanting to read a particular book or if there is an urge to spend on books..But , the last 3 months, I have made 4 bulk purchases.I'm looking out for reviews for books in different genre, more importantly, finding joy in the prospect of buying, reading and to find blogs that have a long list of book reviews..So, currently, I'm in this season now..

I need to mention and say a BIG Thanks to TGND who has taken the time to suggest me books. I truly enjoyed reading the ones that I picked from her suggestion. Thank you TGND :)

I sometimes wonder why I didnt get caught in this "season-of-books" earlier, during those hard times..As they say, there is a season and reason for everything and better late than never.When I used to read about people who write about the joy of being in the company of books, I didnt understand it too much then..(This realisation that I didnt understand itself dawns on me only now)..But, I think for an amateur like me, if books can bring in joy, I can now atleast try and imagine what great joy it would be for those who have been in the company of books for a long long time..

"Outside of a dog,a man's best friend is a book. Inside of a dog, its too dark to read" :) This is from a book mark..

Coming to food seasons, when I look back, I had seasonal courting with maavudu, paruppu sadam, Pizza, ice-cream and now pani puri..Ice cream needs to be mentioned as I relisehd many countless scoops of ice-cream for the last 4 months or so..Every week, I used to have atleast a minimum of 2 sccops..I was telling S that I dont remember having such a craze for this frozen delicacy even as a child or while growing-up..Thanks to the weather, the craving has decreased a bit the last few weeks.. 
Same case of seasonal affinity when it comes to cooking too. The first 3 months of this year saw me planning and cooking an elaborate meal, planning for dishes, making sure that I dont repeat the vegetable or dish atleast over the weekend. 

Have you had such seasonal allegiance too?