Friday, 22 July 2016

5 Books You Must Read In Your Lifetime

Everyone loves reading books. Google estimates that there are around 129,864,880 books in the world. Given the sheer amount of books out there and one's limited lifespan, it can be quite a nightmare selecting your next book. In this blog, from the minor chunk of books that I have read, I try to list 5 books that I feel one must read at least once in their lifetime.

1. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

          The Kite Runner follows the story of Amir, the privileged son of a wealthy businessman in Kabul, and Hassan, the son of Amir's father's servant. As children in the relatively stable Afghanistan of the early 1970s, the boys are inseparable. They spend idyllic days running kites and telling stories of mystical places and powerful warriors until an unspeakable event
 changes the nature of their relationship forever, and eventually cements their bond in ways neither boy could have ever predicted. Even after Amir and his father flee to America, Amir remains haunted by his cowardly actions and disloyalty. In part, it is these demons and the sometimes impossible quest for forgiveness that bring him back to his war-torn native land after it comes under Taliban rule. ("...I wondered if that was how forgiveness budded, not with the fanfare of epiphany, but with pain gathering its things, packing up, and slipping away unannounced in the middle of the night.")

Click here to read the review of the book.

2. Tuesdays with Morrie - Mitch Albom

           Maybe it was a grandparent, or a teacher or a colleague. Someone older, patient and wise, who understood you when you were young and searching, and gave you sound advice to help you make your way through it. For Mitch Albom, that person was Morrie Schwartz, his college professor from nearly twenty years ago.

          Maybe, like Mitch, you lost track of this mentor as you made your way, and the insights faded. Wouldn't you like to see that person again, ask the bigger questions that still haunt you?

          Mitch Albom had that second chance. He rediscovered Morrie in the last months of the older man's life. Knowing he was dying of ALS - or motor neurone disease - Mitch visited Morrie in his study every Tuesday, just as they used to back in college. Their rekindled relationship turned into one final 'class': lessons in how to live.

Click here to read the review of the book.

3. I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban - Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb

          I come from a country that was created at midnight. When I almost died it was just after midday.

When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out. Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.

On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price. She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.

Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York. At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

I Am Malala is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.

I Am Malala will make you believe in the power of one person's voice to inspire change in the world.

Click here to read the review of the book.

4. The Story of my Life - Helen Keller

          Recounting her triumph over deafness and blindness and her journey toward becoming one of the most successful and admired women of this century, Helen Keller writes her own remarkable story, providing an emblem of hope and possibility for all.

Click here to read the review of the book.

5. The Test of My Life - Yuvraj Singh, Sharda urga, Nishant Jeet Arora

          A personal account of Yuvraj Singh’s journey through cancer with the 2011 World Cup victory in the background‘

That day I cried like a baby not because I feared what cancer would do but because I didn’t want the disease. I wanted my life to be normal, which it could not be.’

For the first time Yuvraj Singh tells the real story behind the 2011 World Cup when on-the-field triumph hid his increasingly puzzling health problems and worrying illnesses. In his debut book The test of my life, he reveals how—plagued with insomnia, coughing fits that left him vomiting blood, and an inability to eat—he made a deal with God. On the night before the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup final, Yuvraj prayed for the World Cup in return for anything God wanted. In this book, he lays bare his fears, doubts, and the lows he experienced during chemotherapy— when he lost his energy, his appetite, and his hair—and his battle to find the will to survive. Poignant, personal, and moving—The test of my life—is about cancer and cricket; but more importantly, it is about the human will to fight adversity and triumph despite all odds.

Click here to read the review of the book.

Friday, 15 July 2016

5 Things That Can Lift Your Spirits Instantly

 1. Nature

         Whenever you feel down, turn to nature. The gentle and cool evening breeze, the sweet song of birds and the exotic fragrance of flowers are sure to cheer you up and you will be up and running in no time!

2. Music

          Whenever you feel down, put on your headset, take your car and go for a night ride. The world at night is completely different from what you see at day. The world is more accepting at night and gives you ample time and space to analyze your decisions and understand where you went wrong. It's hard to feel down after a late night or early morning drive with sweet music. The cool night breeze, the heavenly silence and the approaching dawn are sure to lift your moods!

3. It's part of Life!

          Whenever you feel down, remember that happiness and sadness make life all the more interesting. You feel sad because you also know how happiness feels like. You cannot appreciate the sun if half the day is not covered in darkness. That is life - it is similar to a rollercoaster. Unless you come down, you cannot go up. So enjoy the ride. You get only one! Nothing can explain this better than this comic!

4. Pets

          Do I need to say anything more?

5. Books

          Whenever you feel down, take a book - a physical one. The smell of old books is hard to ignore. Start reading and get lost in your own world away from all the sorrows and sufferings. Fight a war in ancient Egypt, scale the peaks of the Himalayas, taste the delicious lamb stew prepared in USA, dance infront of the Eiffel Tower or better yet, travel to the future - all through just words. You've got an effective time machine and dream machine combined into one in the form of books. Never miss them!

You have one life. Live it! Love it! And Enjoy it!

Sunday, 3 July 2016

Chalkline - Jane Mitchell

This is the story of Rafiq's transformation from child to boy soldier, as he is indoctrinated into the cause of fanatical belief. But his family have not forgotten him - when he can no longer recognize himself, they remember the boy he was, and reach out a hand of redemption as he spirals towards a final act of atrocity.

Rafiq is only nine when Kashmiri Freedom Fighters raid his village in search of new recruits. Tall for his age, he is the first boy to cross the chalk line into a life of brutality and violence.

Jameela cannot forget her brother. While Rafiq is trained to kill in the rebel camp high in the mountains, she keeps his memory alive.

When finally their paths cross again, Rafiq is unrecognisable as the boy who left the village. Will Jameela know him?


Ever since my childhood, I have always wondered what is going on up north in Kashmir. I come from a town in south India and I used to find newspaper articles and clippings about the fights going on up in Kashmir, the northern border of India. I've always wondered how people managed to live in such high tension places while it was calm and peaceful down south. This book is a real eye-opener on the conditions and the type of life people lead in the beautiful and gorgeous Kashmir.

Rafiq is a 9-year old boy living with his family in one of the vilages in Kashmir valley. One fine morning, he is abducted by people who claim to be Kashmiri freedom fighters. He is cruelly separated from his family and is made to undergo rigorous training. Rafiq is brainwashed by the militants and is made to believe that the war they fight is a holy war fought for the liberation of Kashmiri people from the tyranny of India.

The hardships Rafiq undergo and the way the boy's mind is tuned to make him believe in what he is doing makes the readers sad. To think that everyday, many such boys are kidnapped and made to fight the war makes the reader's blood boil. This is a good read that exposes a part of the dark secrets that the valley of Kashmir holds.

A must-read for all people. The author has done a great job in making sure that she stays true to the plot and also in bringing out the necessary emotions from the readers. This is one book that will haunt you for a long time.

About the author:
Jane Mitchell

Jane Mitchell was born in England, but she moved to Ireland later on, where she studied in Trinity College, Dublin, and taught elementary school children for a while before working in the community with at-risk teenagers who had dropped out of formal education. 

She has also worked with young adults with disabilities.

Find more about the book here.
Buy the book here.
Read more book reviews here.

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