Sunday, February 27, 2011

Review: Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha

Rujuta Divekar’s first book ‘Don’t Lose your mind, Lose your weight’ was a super hit with women of all ages. In India the success of a book can be easily gauged if you find pirated copies of the book sold at every signal in the country. If it is a yes then that settles the debate about how well the book is doing. Considering the book is still being sold by them just goes to prove what a thumping success her book was!

Women and the Weight Loss Tamasha, her second book is equally fantastic. The book is more like a tamacha (a slap) for all the weight loss myths that we women have managed to gather over the years! It manages to, chapter by chapter, deconstruct all the weight loss gyaan that we have learnt over a period of time. Rujuta’s style of writing is totally bindaas and candid. She chooses not to beat around the bush but rather give the reader an honest in your face advice on how one can lose weight the right way. The book starts off at teenage years and goes on till menopause and everything in between. The book also covers some common issues that we women face such as hypothyroid, PCOD/PCOS and diabetes. The book is an excellent resource for all women.  It also provides strategies for nutrition, exercising, sleeping right.

Women in India are the biggest procrastinators where their own health is concerned. It is high time we changed that! Women do yourselves a favor, go grab a copy of this book today!

About the Author:

Rujuta is a pre-eminent fitness professional in the country; she is amongst the only trained 
sports science and nutrition expert going around. In the field for over a decade, Rujuta 
has always had a holistic approach towards fitness and emphasized on a healthy lifestyle
rather than any drastic changes that are not long term. Having worked with people from
all walks of life, of all age groups and varying fitness levels she has fine-tuned her 
methods to fit the lifestyle of the urban Indian.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review: Slayer of Kamsa

Slayer of Kamsa is Ashok K Banker’s first of an eight book series on Lord Krishna. Banker’s Ramayana series on Lord Rama was a huge success and looks like with the Krishna Coriolis he has another super hit in his hand!

This book takes you back to the time when Kamsa was unleashing his atrocities in his kingdom and neighboring areas. He was busy over ruling his father, King Ugrasena’s decisions for good governance. His evilness knew no bounds.

While his father, the king of Andhaka had signed a treaty with the king of Sura nation Vasudeva to peacefully co exist with each other, Kamsa was totally opposed to it. Kamsa is absolutely hell bent on his mission to prevent his sister Devaki marrying Vasudeva as he knew that this union would be the reason for his doom. He knew that the birth of his slayer was destined to be from Devaki’s womb.

Kamsa promises to kill all the babies that she bears so as to ensure that he continues his reign over the kingdom forever. Moreover he puts his father, sister and her husband behind bars to ensure that he executes all these killings of the new borns. But even in the womb, Krishna uses powerful magic to cast a spell across the entire kingdom on the night of his birth. Now, the stage is set for the epic clash of the child-god and the terrible forces of evil with the birth of Krishna, the slayer of Kamsa…

The book ends with the birth of Krishna and what will now follow are the interesting chronicles of Krishna’s childhood days. While on one hand we had Rama, an upright, honest man on the other hand is the natkhat Kanha. Known for his mischievous and playful persona, the legendary exploits of this super being in human form rival the most rousing fantasy epics.

The author manages to keep the story interesting till the very end with his style of writing. What is also interesting is the amazing insights on King Vasudeva and Ugrasena. Till date they have always been at the fringe of all stories on Krishna.

All the pomp, splendor and majesty of Ancient India come alive with his writing. If mythology interests you, go for this one!!

About the Author:

Ashok K Banker is the author of the internationally acclaimed Ramayana series and other books. He lives in Mumbai with his family. Visit him online at

Review: Truly, Madly, Deeply

I first met Faraaz, the author of Truly, Madly, Deeply ,when he came to attend our book club meet at Crossword Bandra. He told me that he had written a book which would be launched shortly and I had promised that I would review his book on the blog. The book launched sometime back and the review has been long overdue. But nevertheless here goes…

Rahul and Seema, the protagonists of the story are two love struck teenagers in school. Both are extremely talented and academically brilliant. In short they are the stars of their school. Seema comes from a conservative family and as much as she wants she cannot take time out to spend with Rahul. While Rahul initially understanding, starts to resent her for this and becomes bitter about it. A series of misunderstandings and ego clashes lead to them finally go their separate ways.

Rahul moves abroad for his higher studies but he finds it difficult to come to terms with the break up. From being an extremely outgoing and social person he ends up becoming a loner. Seema also is not happy with the situation she finds herself in.

Will these two overcome their differences? Will their love survive? Will it bring them both back together again?

The story is heavily inspired by Bollywood (Rahul, by the way, is a popular name for all romantic male leads!). The story has lots of Bollywood moments in it too. Another thing I felt was the over usage of poems as part of the narrative. They are good but how much of it is enough? The book could definitely have done with better editing to make it worth the reader’s while.

Besides the basic issues with the story what comes across is the writer’s passion for poetry.  On reading the book one knows that the story is written straight from the heart and with all honesty.  

Wishing Faraaz all the very best and a great career ahead as a writer!

About the Author:

Faraaz Kazi is currently pursuing his post graduate studies in Management in Mumbai. He is a certified soft skills trainer and runs his own academy in the same field. He completed his creative writing course from XIC and obtained a diploma in freelance journalism from The British Institute.

Chanakya's Chant Contest ends tomorrow!

We have received an overwhelming response to the contest that we are running on our blog, 'Chanakya's Chant Contest' due to which we will now be ending the contest tomorrow instead of 7th March as communicated earlier.

Since we are giving away only ten copies and we have received many many more replies we will be deciding the winners by a lucky draw. The winners will be notified separately. We will put up the name of the winners on the blog too.

So all the very best and send us your answers by tomorrow to bookwelove (at) gmail if you haven't already!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chanakya's Chant Contest

The Book Lovers is happy to announce a brand new contest for our readers!  

By answering some simple questions, you stand to win, an autographed copy of bestselling author Ashwin Sanghi’s latest book Chanakya’s Chant.  The book which was released recently is already amongst the top ten books selling in India. So here’s a golden chance to win a copy, go for it!

Q1. Which Mauryan king did Chanakya help in acquiring the throne?

Q2. Which famous treatise on statecraft and governance is usually attributed to Chanakya?

Q3. Which ancient university located in modern-day Pakistan was Chanakya associated with?

Simple enough? The rules are simple too! Here goes:

-          We are giving away 10 autographed copies of the book.
-          The answers should be emailed to us at bookwelove@gmail
-          The contest closes on 7th March, 2011.
-          The decision of the judges will be final.

About the book and the author :

The year is 340 BC. A hunted, haunted Brahmin youth vows revenge for the gruesome murder of his beloved father. 

Cold, calculating, cruel and armed with a complete absence of accepted morals, he becomes the most power- ful political strategist in Bharat and succeeds in uniting a ragged country against the invasion of the army of that demigod, Alexander the Great. 

Pitting the weak edges of both forces against each other, he pulls off a wicked and astonishing victory and suc- ceeds in installing Chandragupta on the throne of the mighty Mauryan empire.

History knows him as the brilliant strategist Chanakya.
Satisfied—and a little bored—by his success as a kingmaker, through the simple summoning of his gifted mind, he recedes into the shadows to write his Artha- shastra, the ’science of wealth′. 

But history, which exults in repeating itself, revives Chanakya two and a half millennia later, in the avatar of Gangasagar Mishra, a Brahmin teacher in small town India who becomes puppeteer to a host of ambitious individuals—including a certain slum child who grows up into a beautiful and powerful woman.

Modern India happens to be just as riven as ancient Bharat by class hatred, corruption and divisive politics and this landscape is Gangasagar′s feasting ground. Can this wily Pandit—who preys on greed, venality and sexual deviance—bring about another miracle of a united India?

Will Chanakya′s Chant work again?
Ashwin Sanghi, the bestselling author of The Rozabal Line, brings you yet another historical spine chiller.

About The Author

An entrepreneur by profession, Ashwin Sanghi writes extensively on history, religion and politics in his spare time, but historical fiction in the thriller genre is his passion and hobby. Sanghi holds a master’s degree from Yale. He lives in India with his wife Anushika and son Raghuvir.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Book Lovers Book Club Meet

The Book Lovers Club meet details

Date: 20th Feb, 2011
Time: 2.30pm
Venue : Prithvi Cafe, Prithvi Theatre,Janki Kutir,Juhu,Mumbai
The book of the month: Emma Donaghue's Room.

Do join us!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Review: Highway on My Plate

Roadside eating in India is serious business and a topic of much discussion in every house in our country. The highways are dotted with interesting eateries, dhabas that make stopping and eating mandatory!  So if you are on the highway or a town and you want to know the best place to stop and eat at, look no further, you now have a book that serves specifically that purpose! The book, Highway on My Plate, is a definitive guide to roadside eating in India.

Adapted from the hit TV series on NDTV Good Times, Highway on My Plate lists great eats to be found on every major Indian highway. The best part of it is that the book has been written keeping both vegetarians and non-vegetarians in mind. The book offers an honest and no hold barred opinion on all these roadside dhabas at the same time offering details on what is to be found at these places.

So the hosts Rocky and Mayur guide you to a list of amazing places. The book gives the reader a chance to check out Punjab’s legendary Kesar Da Dhaba (estd in 1916) renowned for its parathas and kaali dal, the kachoris (called kachoras) from chawani Lal Halwai in Rajasthan….
Packed with information this book is an essential must have if you are a foodie or a frequent traveler on Indian roads.

About the authors:

Rocky Singh (Non-veg)

He’s run a restaurant, worked with International Airlines, played Hockey for India (Juniors) and most recently taken early retirement as the CEO of a multinational organization. He still plays Golf, regularly goes scuba diving, off road 4 wheeling, fishing and above all enjoys his food.

Mayur Sharma (Veg)

Mayur is an ‘outdoors’ kind of a guy. He has played, worked, traveled, rafted and climbed his way across over 60 countries in 5 continents and is always looking to share new adventures at home, work and in the fridge.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Review: Another Chance

Another Chance is a romantic novel set in contemporary times. This is Ahmed Faiyaz’s second novel.  Ahmed is the bestselling author of Love,Life and all that Jazz..

The book  is Ruheen Oberoi's love story. A love that she found, lost and found again…maybe to lose forever. Ruheen  who lost her parents at an early age is brought up single handedly by her Nana in Shimla. She moves to Bombay for further studies and that is when she meets Aditya Sharma and what follows is an intense relationship which ends up in heartbreak due to an obsessive powerful man who is stalking her and has asked Aditya to stay out of Ruheen’s life. Though they separate their love for each other stays just as strong. Ruheen ends up marrying a man based in the UK who she later realizes is an extremely violent man. With the help of her sister in law she manages to escape to Amsterdam to start her life anew. That’s where she meets Aditya who is now a successful manager. They rekindle their relationship and move back to Bombay to start a new chapter in their romance. But problems start cropping up soon. Will the two lovers manage to overcome their differences? Will both give their relationship another chance? To make matters more difficult there is also Ruheen’s childhood friend and old flame from Shimla, Varun Shetty.

The story is a typical Bollywood masala but with just too many characters and too many love angles to comprehend. Ruheen comes across as a very confused, depressive soul who doesn’t seem to find happiness in anything at all. Meanwhile Aditya Sharma is the typical corporate manager struggling to grow in his career. Again that angle where they meet to again separate seems a bit farfetched.

The book makes for a breezy read and reflects our relationships in the crazy, busy times we live in.

Review: Mice in Men

Mice in Men by Anirban Bose is a book of short stories that I read recently. Anirban is the bestselling author of Bombay Rains, Bombay Girls. The stories range from the unexpected to the bizarre said the blurb. The latter is true for sure!

The stories are of ordinary people who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances. Mice in Men is a story of a man who saves a mouse. How this simple act helps this insecure, ordinary man to rise above his afflictions and his love. The Magic of Medicine is of a young doctor who sees his patient, an illegal immigrant fighting for his life. Yet, as death slowly but surely beats him down, the doctor awakens to the strange beauty of his profession. Some interesting ones are The Right Way to Eat a Mango, The New Job, The World’s Greatest Oiban …

The writer being a doctor by profession has managed to use his knowledge generously as most of the stories have a medical backdrop. The writer does manage to detail every single story getting the reader totally involved in the lives of each of the character.

While some of the stories are heartwarming some are absolutely bizarre making one skip to the next story. I found most of the stories lacking. They either were too descriptive or too mundane and obvious. Short stories have to be crisp and gripping from the start however it was not the case with this book.

About the Author:

A doctor by profession, Anirban Bose is the author of the bestselling book Bombay Rains, Bombay Girls that was longlisted for Indiaplaza Golden Quill Award. Other than writing he is passionate about guitars, cricket and music. He lives with his wife and children in Pittsford, USA and is currently assistant professor of medicine and nephrology at the University of Rochester.

Review: Tender Hooks

Moni Mohsin’s book ‘The Diary of a Social Butterfly’ was a laugh out loud, hilarious book about Butterfly Khan and her hip page 3 life in Karachi! Tender Hooks brings Butterfly back…and how!! Back with her is also Kulchoo (her son), Janoo (her husband), Jonkers (her cousin), Aunt Pussy (Jonker's mom) Uncle Cock-Up (Jonker’s Dad!).Yet another immensely entertaining and all out fun book from Moni Mohsin!

Butterfly has been entailed the task of finding a new wife for her recently divorced cousin, Jonkers. She would have never agreed to do it but has been forced by her Aunt Pussy (if you please!). So Butterfly gets to work on finding him a rich, fair, beautiful type of wife! As Butterfly schemes through shaadis, GTs (get togethers) and kitty partied trying to find a suitable girl from the right bagground. But what she doesn’t realize is that Jonkers has his own ideas about his perfect mate.

So Butterfly manages to keep the reader hooked and entertained till the very end with her broken English, her love for her family, her fighting goons and more importantly her love for parties! Though Butterfly comes across as someone who is all shallow and blabber, she does offer observations about Pakistan’s politics and state of affairs that exist there.

I would highly recommend this book. Witty, wicked and absolutely entertaining! A total laugh riot!

Now I eagerly look forward to Butterly’s next adventure!

About the Author

Moni Mohsin is the author of two books, the bestselling The Diary of a Social Butterfly based on her popular column in Pakistan’s The Friday Times, and the award winning novel The End of Innocence. Born in Pakistan, she currently lives in the UK with her husband and two children.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: Battle Hymn of The Tiger Mother

The first I heard of this book was through the article in the Wall Street Journal about Amy Chua's forthcoming book, which was discussed hot on twitter and on the mommy blogosphere. Quills were bristling and moms were quickly taking up posts on either side of the divide, and some struggled to maintain a median position on the debate. I was then invited to be part of a panel discussion on BBC World's Have Your Say, which included a UK based mom and a BBC producer, a NYC journalist and mom, a professor in American and a Chinese parent, and me, representing the pushy Indian parent. Only, I am not the pushy Indian parent.

But never mind the self pimping, the fact is I was very very keen to read the book. While the precepts in the extract were a little extreme, the fact remained that the book did make me feel a little uncomfortable about just how lax I was with the brat's academics and skills. I needed to pull up my socks and how. So when Penguin kindly sent me in the book, I went through it in a couple of days, reading like I had a gun held to my head. I would take tips I thought, I would take what would work for me and keep the more extreme stuff aside. I swore to myself that I would keep the fact that Chua was a little extreme at the back of my mind, and not get fazed by any stuff I read. But the book was strong. For a parent like me, who has spent all of her seven years of parenting trying to build the
child's self esteem, this comes a complete shocker.

My impressions of the book. Firstly, what comes through very strongly in the entire book is that Chua is trying to live vicariously through her children. Her decision to raise the children the Chinese way,while allowing the kids to follow the Jewish faith seems like a happy compromise on the surface of it, with Amy's husband Jed, struggling to
make sense of Amy's bootcamp method of raising their kids, and playing referee most times. .According to Chua, the Chinese way of raising kids is tough love, love that doesn't hesitate to criticise, love that enforces a regimen so
strict that it allows the children no childhood to run around and just be children. Her daughters, Sophia and Louisa, weren't allowed to have playdates, sleepovers, or anything less than the top grades of their class — and
that they were expected to excel at the instruments Mom chose for them (this is interesting, the children had no choice in the matter), the piano and violin, respectively. Interestingly, while Chua's elder daughter Sophia, was a docile child and went along with her mother's plan for her, her sister Louisa had different plans, and went along
till a point, kicking and screaming, until one day things finally broke and she completely went off the violin and took up, surprise surprise, tennis.

Honestly, the reader sees the rebellion coming, it is surprising that Chua didn't see it staring her in her face. The accounts of how she bludgeons (metaphorically speaking of course) her daughters into hours of music practice, (Interestingly the music seems to be the dominant part of all her child rearing anecdotes) are downright uncomfortable
to read, especially as a parent. While she might have got one daughter into Carnegie Hall, and that definitely is something to be proud about, she's got there through an enforced regimen of hours of practice, no down time, no sport, no school plays, which makes one really feel sorry for the child. Among the many anecdotes in the book, one that really horrified me was the time she rejected her daughter's handmade birthday cards, because it really seemed to me as a reader, that she was basically miffed at her husband not making reservations at a better restaurant. To me, that is sacrilege. I don't know how her daughters turned out, and I'm hoping they are well balanced young ladies right now, but I do know the line between adoring your parents and hating your parents is a thin one, and adolescence is a phase where most kids quickly go onto the other side.

What I did not enjoy about the book particularly was the vigorous manner in which Chua puts down Western parenting, with their focus on building a child's self esteem, giving the child an all round childhood full of experiences with an appropriate focus on sport. She writes "Western parents are concerned about their children's psyches. Chinese parents aren't. They assume strength, not fragility, and as a result they behave very differently….That's why the solution to substandard performance is always to excoriate, punish and shame the child." While name calling, and even calling the child 'garbage' something that almost got Chua ostracised at a dinner party is definitely unorthodox to say the least, the takeaway I did get from the book is that children need to be pushed beyond the comfortable limits they set themselves, they need to be handled firmly and not be allowed to sink into pleasant mediocrity. The methods each parent might use to achieve this might differ, I might use a blend of no nonsense you have to get this done, along with some gentle encouragement but the base premise does remain the same. One wants to encourage the child to go beyond what they think they can achieve. While Amy Chua's method might have worked for her, with one daughter at least, it is not a route I would follow or even advocate. Childhood prodigies and academic overachievers to the best of my knowledge and reading have not had very happy lives. And I'd rather my son has a happy childhood. And if he has a spark of genius, in any sphere, it will manifest if he has self esteem, and confidence enough.

(Crossposted on