Book Review: Mohini The Enchantress by Anuja Chandramouli

 
What if the tale is not something that you have read or heard all the time from each source? How about an in-depth look to what it could have been, rather than just having a quick look into what came 0ut from Samudra manthan and how Mohini's act saved Devas all along? or was it?
 
Anuja Chandramouli's latest, Mohini: The Enchantress travels to this era beautifully with her prowess over mytho-fiction as always. As she says at one place 'Unlike stories, dreams have neither the beginning nor an ending'; same way the tale of Mohini neither starts with churning of the ocean nor it ends afterwards. It starts way earlier and travels thru eons, covering known and lesser known storylines, like those of Bhrigu and Kavyamata, Nara-Narayan, Chandra and Tara, and even we get to visit Kurukshetra. All these with a beautiful version of its own-of the famous churning of ocean. Very well articulated scenario which actually make us believe the importance of such huge exercise the sons of Diti and Aditi did carry out. Anuja keeps us engaged with her beautiful wordplay and creating scenarios which makes you remind of stories you have grown up reading - but with all the fresh outlook here. Mohini-is omnipresent, ofcourse, even now. How else would the world go on with the monotonus life? She is here forever to stay. Watching the dance of destiny with her own eyes wihle Bhumi Devi will soon be needing another churning of ocean, as we keep on looting her resourcing as shamelessly as it happened eons back.
 
The book is definitely recommended for mytho-fiction lovers (do I actually need to write so? This is her 11th book and it is very obvious). This is way better than just plain retelling of great epics. Absolutely imaginative and wonderfully executed.
 
Oh, and did I say how gorgeous the cover is? A fab design by Mugdha and Onkar Fondekar. Loved the sea green theme.

Book Review: Bankers' Game by Ashutosh Mishra

A thriller about bankers and the world of finance and stock markets. Something that is altogether a rather new scenario for me (having read only one such). Ashutosh Mishra's Banker's Game sets up an interesting outing.

Starting up in rather suspenseful way, the story moves forward with simple character set and equally simple yet complex and intriguing world of bankers. How it goes thru with shifts that never end as they deal with the world of different time zones. Officially 9 to 5 job takes a toll of their lives on every front, physical, emotional, social and even financial front. Protagonists get in chakravyuh of the economy that they won't be able to come out ever. This tale is no less interesting with greed, lust, redemption, office politics, cut throat competition and what not. The writing style of Mishra is so simple it is a breeze to go through pages and it keeps you glued to the pages. Cover design has been an interesting characteristic when it comes to Jaico's books. Nowadays it is getting more and more interesting and sophisticated stuff. Page quality and printing are just perfect for this paperback.

As we all are supporting the lockdowns to save us from Corona, this light and interesting read is surely an apt choice so that you get something to keep you engaged. A fiction that takes you away from reality and still makes you aware how real the world of money is - from inside.

Book Review : Clues to the Cosmos by Shohini Ghose

Physics ! The name itself was enough to scare me when I was in school. I mean seriously, so much of stuff to remember, so much of calculations and that too, with theory that has to be remembered like a parrot. So despite of the fact that the principles were hell interesting, I wasn't as fluent with the subject as others. But as it happens, years after the school days past, the subjects I had avoided comes back now to me as something I want to ponder upon and read about. Be it history, tales of civilizations, politics or yes, physics. So, there, when I got this copy of book - Clues to the Cosmos by Shohini Ghose (a simple google got me mouth agape how this lady is multi talented !) I was in for an adventure. Which surely it is.

Why not? As the subject itself has many mysteries, histories and surprises in store for us. Wonder what would PT Usha's run has to do with some principles of precise measurements, or what if I tell you that there was no apple that fell on head of that famous physicist ! And as Shohini rightly puts in-we all know the final outcome of all these suspense stories - the principles of physics. But what is the story, who were background actors who all made that possible? All these together makes the tales much interesting despite the fact that the subject does not seem so!

The writing style makes heavy dose of information go down your throat in a simple and interesting way. The way each chapter starts with a personal note and progresses step by step with even the little contribution to the big discoveries is worth keep your eyes on the pages. I never thought this would be a ride with so much knowledge to be gained. Talking about the book - printing quality is excellent, so is the binding. Cover page is absolutely stunning (making sure it will catch a few eyes, while you show off what you are reading - at least I do that always). Jaico has done beautiful job.

A very deserving break I got from my 'fictional' world - reading something so enriching. Clues to the Cosmos is going to take place next to Sapiens, on my bookshelf.

Book Review : How to Finish Everything You Start | by Jan Yager

Unfinished books, tv series, house projects, office projects, personal projects and what not. We all have those piles of unfinished things everywhere around us. Some, not so important and some, are so important that would lead us to further consequences at work and home. So, there needs to be a discipline to finish everything you start. But how?

There, Jan Yager comes with a book aptly named that - How to Finish Everything You Start. Well, to be frank I am not someone who swear by such books (self-help, self-improvement) and having read only 3 books as far as I can remember, I was a bit apprehensive to read it. But then, the subject itself is so clear and that, made me start it. And well, it has been enriching experience as I finished it (technically, because such books need to be referred again and again). Applying FINISH approach to any stage any project of your life, you can not only finish your task but finish it so effectively, you can further expand your horizons and be ready for more such challenges. This, the author has put in nicely with a good amount of exercises and worksheet thrown in every now and then.

What I liked the most about the book is those worksheets, yes. You can immediately refer to them as and when required and you can know instantly where to focus, where you are lacking confidence and where the things are going wrong. At just 244 pages, (that too, a rich bibliography in last few pages) this book is breeze to read and apply to your real life. Even, as a team leader at your workplace, you can transfer this knowledge to your sub-ordinates as well. As it is said in local Indian saying, that knowledge increases when you share it. Absolutely. Do go for it, and see how it makes you more effective in anything you do. 

Book Review | Mohanaswamy by Vasudhendra, translated by Rashmi Terdal

Perhaps, this is the first time I am reading an Indian LGBT themed book, and I think this is the best one can start with. Vasudhendra's semi biographical (I can safely bet on that) collection of stories is nothing but absolutely real. Something, we either even felt with ourselves or have seen around us, growing up in small towns, villages and closely knit communities. The sexual descriptions are toned down and still they felt effective as it should. Instead of making it a novel, a continuous tale of Mohanaswamy, author makes it in irregular fashioned stories collection, which sometimes moves in present, sometimes goes back to Mohana's earlier days, and at a few places, the central character changes. This is the beauty of the book that it creates altogether a little world in which Mohanaswamy has lived till now. I am not too efficient in writing about the feelings described by the author, but yes, the characters are alive and you feel the same feelings. The finale is the best one from the lot, as it ought to be. A highly recommended, this little collection of tales, translated effectively from Kannada by Rashmi Terdal. 

Book Review | Around the world in 80 cocktails by Chad Parkhill

Not an avid drinker I am (and actually, I am living in a state where alcohol is prohibited, alas), but whenever I got a chance to visit bars or lounges, the menu always confused me. Especially, the exotic named cocktails, which I would surely want to try, but won't find a way to identify what goes in the glass. Oh, what an enlightenment this book is, in that sense. 

So, here I am talking about 'Around the world in 80 cocktails' by Chad Parkhill. When I saw snippet shared by Jaico, I was impressed immediately by the cover design. The gorgeous illustration by Alice Oehr. I didn't know the whole book is illustrated, until I read about it. And that couldn't hold my excitement. And it was worth indeed. The book is absolutely beautiful on each page, even the 'index' and 'further reading' sections are not left out. Eye pleasing at each page!


To be frank, i know nothing about preparing the cocktails, nor don't know a thing about what all goes in. But yes, somewhere inside me is a little chef who often lays hands on all things gastronomic. So, this is a good chance to be famous whenever I am around my cousins at those little little house parties. Chad Parkhill's style of starting each chapter with historical tales for each cocktail in question-makes it more immersive and interesting. From outrageous names like Bamboo, between the sheets and even 'Screaming orgasms' to interesting serving styles like serving in a skull, serving in a bath tub with rubber duckie and even in a blood bag in a kidney dish. The anecdotes keep you interested.

For the sheer beauty of one page and the information and the fantastic recipes on the other - this is a book for everyone who are into illustrated books or even just a person who knows how to be in a good spirit. Pun intended.