THE BOOKADDA BLOG For booklovers of all ages, a blog that celebrates books and reading. Share your favourite reads with us and like us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter! Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:33:57 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Book Review- The Emperor’s Riddle by Satyarth Nayak Mon, 21 Jul 2014 10:33:57 +0000 Over the years, Indian fiction has struggled to come up with something of substance in the thriller/ mystery genre. Finally it looks like there is hope, afterall.

After devouring the debut book from the author Satyarth Nayak, one can only imagine what a bright future lies ahead for this young author and the Indian readers. When one opens a book with recommendations from Amish Tripathi, the expectations are bound to be high. And the book does not disappoint at all! The Emperor’s Riddle has an intricately woven plot which keeps shuffling between uncovering a mystery with its roots buried somewhere in the past and the forgotten corridors of history of Buddhist era. Often is the case with the books like these, they run the risk of being just another one of those western plots rehashed for Indian audience, and here is where Satyarth manages to completely catch you unawares. With history, mystery, sci-fi and philosophy all seamlessly woven into a plot, this is one book you will find hard to put down.

The plot itself gets your imagination tingling fro the very beginning. When the historian Ram Mathur is murdered under intriguing circumstances, his daughter Priya joins forces with the renowned esoteric writer Om Patnaik to unravel the clues in the form of riddles that Ram Mathur has scattered over different eras of history. Together, they set on course of history with the dark forces always snapping at their heels. With stakes higher than they anticipated, Priya and Om are up against a historic sect that has taken eternal oath to protect the secret, no matter at what cost.

Satyarth Nayak is an author, script-writer & journalist based in Delhi, holding a Masters Degree in English Literature from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi. His first book clearly reflects his interest and understanding in esoteric. With the success and acclaim that his first book has already garnered for him, we can hardly wait for more from our own Dan Brown.

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Interview with the author of Resonance, Ajay Pandey Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:02:28 +0000 With his debut fiction Resonance already garnering rave reviews, we bring you excerpts from our exclusive interview with the author Ajay Pandey:


1.    What sparked off the idea for your novel?

The idea of my first novel was conceptualized more than four years back. Its theme and cast were set in USA, Sudan, Syria and India and the main plot revolved around a Vietnamese girl with an extraordinary memory. I toyed with the idea of placing my submission to publishers in U.K. or USA. However, it was shelved. A friend of mine suggested that I write a novel with its central theme and character based in the Indian subcontinent.

After being stuck with a writer’s block for two years, one night the idea of my present novel suddenly struck me. The plot wove itself rapidly in my mind, and I mulled over thrashing out of the details all night. By morning, the plot and the central characters were fully fleshed out before me.

After that day, the ideas, subplots, scenes, all flowed and fit snugly into the main plot and characterization of my story, Resonance.


2.    Have any career experiences shaped this book? Any interesting anecdote that came to mind?

Yes. My very close interaction with a few friends, working in the higher positions of government gave me a lot of ideas.

My conversation with a young man from Surat on my way to Anand is one anecdote that shaped some of the main characters of my story. He told me about his life experiences and I listened. I experienced the pain of a man, wronged by an influential persona (also from Surat). His story was a universal story. My empathy with that ‘storyteller’ and his ‘story’ finds its place in Resonance.


3. What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author and what was the best compliment?

My wife’s suggestion to refer to grammar books on my syntactical errors. Her sarcastic remark that I was the product of ‘Grammar School’ is the toughest criticism till date!

The best compliment came from my friend Tarun Seem, who once called me the Sydney Sheldon of India and then rechristened me Ajay Fredrick  Pandey Forsyth– an interesting soundbite.


4. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

Yes. Why not! This too is a thriller. I’ve completed the first draft and it’ll be sometime before I submit it to the publishing house.

It is the story of a young Jewish scientist, who was convinced that in the famous Philadelphia experiment conducted in 1943, a US Navy Warship USS Eldridge had actually disappeared from the Philadelphia dockyard and reappeared within seconds at Virginia, some two hundred nautical miles away. Question rise in his mind–Was Einstein present on that ship? Did he design a machine, capable of pulling off such an impossible feat? If so, could this young boy replicate what had been done? Would his results be as disastrous as those of the Philadelphia Experiment?

In due course of time, the boy develops a machine, while pursuing his masters program in the University of Austin, Texas. This wonder machine does not require any fuel, and derives its own input from Zero field or in other words, from nowhere. Then starts the geopolitical game of all the powerful players of the Gulf World, USA, Russia and several other nations. Each vying to beg, borrow or steal the boy’s research work to become masters of the Universe by wielding this source of free energy.

The boy gets entrapped in a world of deceit and treachery as each country and individuals with vested interests attempt to capture this energy, which would change not just the dynamics of global economics, but also the very stability of the world. The boy, however, understands the full repercussion of his invention.

The court scenes played out in the District Court of Austin with the FBI chasing the boy. Five countries getting into the nasty game of snatching secrets of the machine from one another weaves a snare of global propositions. India and USA are the main contenders and they come to a point where they are capable of shifting the entire geopolitics of the world and change the definition of rich and mighty.


5. Do you have any advice for those who want to become a published writer? Any interesting anecdote you would like to share with us?

To all my dear friends who dream of becoming a published writer, if you have a good story, tell it to the world.

I suggest you to write a linear plot with subplots running parallel to the main plot. Characterization is one of the main parts of a good novel. Your objective should be to flesh out everyone: the protagonist, the antagonistic and even minor characters to an extent. Make them living flesh and blood, plausible people.

Then starts the difficult journey where you have to place your story in the form of a submission before an agent or a publisher. After submission, wait very patiently. After all, you are among several others whose stories are lying before them for consideration. However, if you don’t hear from them for a long time (six months at least), send in a gentle reminder.

Try to visit book signing events, book trades and other shows, where you can get a chance to interact with some well known author or personnel from a publishing house. It’s usually easy to get close to the author during recess to introduce yourself and say that you are a budding author. But don’t be in a hurry to belt out your story in front of him or her. Tell your theme only if he or she asks you what your story is about. If she likes your creation, the spark in her eyes will tell you so, and this is a good omen. Then ask, very gingerly, if she could tell you how to get in touch with an agent or better still, get you introduced to an agent or publisher, so that your submission is at least read. Otherwise, it may be left lying in the slush pile.

Who knows one day you may be lucky enough and your book might find its place in the hands and minds of readers.


Good luck to everyone who dreams.

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Book Review: Resonance Mon, 07 Jul 2014 13:00:38 +0000 Resonance: Frequency matches found with Indian readers!


A dying man, a cryptic message and a devilish terrorist plot that the world’s best intelligence agencies try hard to unravel! This fast-paced thriller from Ajay Pandey barely allows you to breathe before catapulting you into the next hairpin bend.


All the elements necessary in a modern espionage-based plot are present in this bold plot that combines science and imagination with a deliciously poised twist in the tale. So how does it start? A dying man calls his wife with his last few breaths and leaves a cryptic message about jihadists having initiated ‘To Pak To’. This is the beginning of a story that traverses various continents and countries before the final denouement. The FBI, the CBI, the IB and the ISI along with terrorist organisations like Al Qaeda and LeT are all players in this fast-paced thriller. Yes, there is young love, there are hard-nosed militia men and crack spies who have given a lifetime to the pursuit of their twisted goals. The actual core plot is a physics-based one, based on oscillation of motion, amplitude, frequency and the power of resonance. Yeah, check your class XII textbooks, those of you who have forgotten the basics. Sounds plausible enough to be scary.


‘Resonance’ features a hatched-in-Pakistan terrorist plot that eventually sees the governments of India, Pakistan and the US working together to try and foil it. Sidharth Rana, a Joint Director of the IB, is the smart, young Indian intelligence officer who is put on the case with the incoherent message from a dying AIG and has to make sense of it before catastrophe hits. Helping him are his counterparts at the FBI and other government agencies. Ajay uses the Mumbai Terror attacks and real characters to good effect, mingling them with a small group of fictional characters, each with their personal stories and motivations. He uses fact and fiction, deftly blending both to create intrigue backed by pace. The story unfolds quite well and does so without losing a readers interest. There is a sub-plot of a love story that appropriately crosses the boundaries of country and religion and is pivotal to the story.


All in all, ‘Resonance’ makes for an enjoyable racy read, but I missed a better fleshed out ending. I am one of those who prefer an ending that, well, pretty much spells it out with dotted Is and crossed Ts. This was an ending that while clear, deprived me of a denouement á la classic crime fiction, and I must say I missed that.


Ajay is meanwhile busy at work on his next novel and is happy with the tremendous response his first effort has received. An engineer by education, Ajay works with the Indian Revenue Service and has put his knowledge gained at work of how intelligence agencies function, to good use in this thriller. ‘Resonance’ has already gone in for reprints, no mean feat for a first-timer. A last word about the cover: Resonance has an arresting cover and the half-covered face reminds me of Hrithik Roshan from ‘Mission Kashmir’, the movie. I must commend the designer because I’m quite sure this, too, at least subliminally, played a role in the success of this book!


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Book Review – A Passionate Gospel of True Love by Poonaam Uppal Fri, 30 May 2014 09:04:32 +0000 This is a true love story of glamorous, stylish, and fiercely ambitious Indian lass Moh Lal Rai who has only one cherished desire on her mind- to become an internationally acclaimed avant-garde Fashion Designer. Destiny deceives Moh’s desires, landing her in USA. During her fashion show at Las Vegas, she experiences violent vibration followed by a thunderous broadcasting of her future, “Soon in 1997, you will meet your true eternal lover on this Earth.” Dragooned by powerful longing to meet her ancient lover, she becomes a solitary traveler of an abyss of unfathomable space and time where she is sent on a roller coaster ride to a bizarre realm of gonzo occurrences, happenings, visions, premonitions, déjàvus, divine visitations and startling revelation of her past birth. She involuntarily unravels the ancient most mystical secret of the extinct cryptic writings shrouded in the misty Himalayan valley.

But the surprises for her haven’t stopped at this. In a cruel game plan of a higher order, she is compelled, commanded and controlled by a powerful goddess to become a saint, a Guru, a Love Goddess to reveal the lost mystical secret Art of True love that is the sacred most religion.

What are the mystical secrets about Kama Sutra hidden in Himalayas? Could true love be the only Religion of the future? With this book, author Poonaam Uppal attempts to answer these haunting questions and much more.


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Incredible quirks of 10 eccentric writers Tue, 06 May 2014 07:22:00 +0000 Writers have always been an eccentric and superstitious bunch. While some have been known to compose poems on horsebacks (yes, you read it right!), others have been known for using an open coffin as their ‘thinking pod’. Below is a list of some of the most lauded writers throughout the history and their own personal list of idiosyncrasies

Friedrich Schiller

The renowned 18th century German poet, philosopher and historian Friedrich Schiller owed his brilliant works and creations to something as humble as apples and water. For completely unfathomable reasons, Friedrich Schiller always wrote with rotten apples concealed beneath his desk and his feet soaked in a tub of ice water. In 1985, many years after his death, it was discovered that the spiced smell of rotten apples can have elevating effect on people, to the point of warding off panic attacks. Looks like Mr. Schiller discovered this long ago!


William Butler Yeats

While we all know people who can be termed as ‘Exercise Fanatics’, no one was more so than famous poet William Butler Yeats. When having trouble getting his words in order, he would take to the London streets, often mistaken for a crazy person. Says Celia Blue Johnson in her quirky book titled Old Type Writers, “The poet would barrel through city streets like a tornado. He’d wave his arms and mutter as he walked, so absorbed in musings that he lost track of the world around him.”


Truman Capote

Truman Capote, the celebrated author, was eccentric to the point of being a maniac. He would never begin or finish a work on Friday. He wrote his first and second drafts while horizontally lying on the bed. His superstitions were not only confined to his writing habits. Cigarette butts in his ash tray never exceeded 3. The extra butts would go straight to his pocket. He also had a special aversion to number 13. He would never stay on 13th floor and even skipped 13th stair. Also, he would plain refuse to board a plane that had more than one nun!


Graham Greene

If not for his literary genius, Graham Greene would have certainly found himself listed as a patient of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. The prolific writer was obsessed with numbers. He would not start writing until a certain combination of numbers appeared accidentally in front of him. He would spend hours sitting on the side of the road looking at the license plate of the numbers passing by, looking for his ‘magic number’. Maybe he just didn’t feel like writing. Wait, did we just hear a publisher groan?


Douglas Adams

Talking about procrastination, have you ever met a writer who hated writing? Procrastination habit of Douglas Adams, the popular science fiction novelist, was a matter of utter despair for his publisher. It wasn’t for the lack of inspiration; he just plain hated writing. In the end though, his publisher stumbled across the perfect solution- He locked him in a room in order to get him to finish his work!


Honoré de Balzac

Balzac was a true caffeine addict. He believed he derived his great literary abilities from the cups of coffee. He had devised an unbreakable mechanism for his writing. He would go to bed at 10 at night he would wake up around 2 am and begin writing. He would write until the late afternoon next day and then take a break. Throughout the day, he would consume about 50 cups of strong Turkish coffee to stimulate his brain. Renowned author Voltaire was another coffee enthusiast, consuming about 40 cups a day.


James Joyce

James Joyce, like Truman Capote, was another lover of ‘horizontal writing’. He used to lie on his bed at night wearing a white coat. His sister later discovered that he used white coat to add brightness to his already floundering eyesight. He was also a man of patience, spending hours over each sentence. On meeting James Joyce in the street, his friend once famously asked him if he had had a good writing day. Joyce replied in affirmative, stating he had managed three sentences that day!


Vladimir Nabokov

Capote would have hated Nabokov! The iconic writer, who authored masterpieces like Lolita and Ada, always wrote while standing, sometimes for hours at a stretch. He also had a habit of using index cards for writing. Nabokov would often write different scenes on index cards without any set sequence and later arrange them in order. It is said his novel Ada took close to 2000 index cards!


Edith Wharton

Though a brilliant writer, she had her own quirks. She lived in a mansion perched on top of a hill in Lenox, Massachusetts. While the mansion itself was ideal for writing, she followed a method to get the best writing done. She used to wake up in the morning and being a very lazy girl, would start writing in bed. She would keep filling sheets of papers with her writing and keep dropping them on to the floor. Her maid came in later to collect the sheets and gave them to her secretary to type out. Talk about making money out of laziness!


Gertrude Stein

We all have experienced writer’s block one time or another. People often go for a walk or take a nap to get over the block. But famous author Gertrude Stein did something a little more unconventional. She discovered, by accident, that the front seat of her new Ford T model was a great place to write. You could easily find her writing intently curled upon the front seat of her car. She had christened her car “Auntie” after her Aunt Pauline!   


(P.S. – Our horseback poet was Sir Walter Scott. The lady in the coffin was Edith Sitwell, who used to lie in a coffin before she began writing, in order to stimulate her creativity.)

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10 Famous Authors and their Pseudonyms Thu, 24 Apr 2014 09:45:05 +0000 Last year, when it was revealed that The Cuckoo’s Calling’s author Robert Galbraith is the pseudonym used by renowned author J.K. Rowling, the book shot to the top of the bestsellers. Though the leak was not intentional, it did work out well for J.K. Rowling and her publishers in the end!

J.K Rowling is certainly not the first popular author to use a pseudonym. Author’s often use pseudonyms, and sometimes for the most bizarre reasons. Here’s a list of famous pseudonyms and the reasons behind them that you probably didn’t know:

Lewis Carroll

alice in wonderlandCharles Lutwidge Dodgson adopted the pen name of Lewis Carroll in 1856. A modest and private person by nature, he assumed this pen name to keep his personal life separate. He was so dedicated to the cause that he even used to refuse the letters addressed to Lewis Carroll arriving at his office to maintain deniability.




Stan Lee

stan leeThe legendary comic book writer Stan Lee, who brought Avengers, Spiderman, Hulk and many others to life, was born Stanley Martin Lieber. He single-handedly turned around Marvel and the whole American comic industry. Harboring the dreams of being a serious published writer, he adopted the name Stan Lee early in his career when he started out as a comic book writer in order to reserve his birth name for more serious ventures. However, to much relief of his readers worldwide, he took Stan Lee as his legal name in May 1941.



George Orwell

george orwellGeorge Orwell was born Eric Arthur Blair. His first full length work Down and Out in Paris and London was based on the themes of poverty and living as a tramp. To keep his family from being embarrassed, he wrote under the pen name of George Orwell. An avid swimmer, he picked Orwell from the famous River Orwell and George as a quintessential English name.





Stephen King

stephenStephen King wrote short novels earlier in his career under the name Richard Bachman. The reason behind assuming this pen name is quite bizarre. In those days publishers believed in publishing only one novel a year per writer. In order to get two books published in a single year, Stephen King submitted it under the name of Richard Bachman.





Brontë sisters

bromte sistersThe famous Brontë sisters, Charlotte, Emily and Anne, initially wrote under male pen names. This was done for the reason that in those times, female writers often attracted sexist views from staunch critics. The sisters, who would later go on to publish several successful books individually (Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Agnes Grey etc.), published a book titled Poems by Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell using the initials of their first name to fashion men’s names.





Isaac Asimov

asimov1The iconic sci-fi author with books like I, Robot, Foundation and Nightfall to his credit, wrote a popular sci-fi series for young adults under the name Paul French. The series The Adventures of Lucky Starr featured an orphaned space ranger David Starr who solved intergalactic mysteries. Towards the end, Isaac Asimov grew tired of his pseudonym and started leaving hints that led the readers to uncover his real identity.





George Elliot

elliotMary Ann Evans was an English novelist, journalist and one of the leading writers of the Victorian era. She took up a male sounding pseudonym in order to distance herself from the frivolity that was associated with the works of female authors of that era. Hugely successful as an author, her work Middlemarch is regarded as one of the greatest novels in English language.






Agatha Christie

agatha christieAgatha Christie was so good with her enthralling and gripping mystery books that she had become synonymous with the genre. Writing for a different genre would not have found unbiased readers. Wishing to expand her horizons as a writer, she penned six romance novels under the name of Mary Westmacott.







Mark Twain

mark twainBorn Samuel Langhorne Clemens, the author we better know as Mark Twain has a very interesting story behind the name. Though many versions of the origins exist, the most popular one remains that sailors at the port used ropes to measure the depth of sea. When the depth was two fathom (a unit of depth), the sailor measuring the depth would shout “Mark twain!” (‘twain’ is old English for two). Samuel picked up his name from these innocuous sailor shouts.





Micheal Crichton

micheal crichtonAcclaimed filmmaker and writer whose stellar works include Jurassic Park and ER had a penchant for pseudonyms. He is known to have used John Lange, Jeffery Hudson, and Michael Douglas as pen names while writing earlier in his career. In fact, his first book Odds On was published in 1966 under the name John Lange.


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5 Books to Read Before You Vote This Election Wed, 16 Apr 2014 13:04:54 +0000 Politics has acquired a new flavor this season. The passion and fervor with youth and adults are discussing politics around you has been an invariable characteristic in these past few months. And just so that you do not take a back seat in those enthusiastic discussions, we bring you the latest insider accounts and political biographies from this election season.

The Accidental Prime Minister

By Sanjaya Baru

accidental prime ministerReleased on 11th of April this year, the book has already taken the country by storm. The author, Sanjaya Baru, worked as Media Advisor to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for 4 years. In this insider account, Baru reveals the strained and complicated nature of Manmohan Singh’s relations with Sonia Gandhi. It also sheds light on the important decisions that the PM was involved in during the 4 years that Baru served him. While the book is courting controversy due its sensitive topic during this election, the book itself is insightful, factual and full of gossip of what happens in political corridors.




The Disrupter: Arvind Kejriwal and the Audacious Rise of the Aam Aadmi

By Sama Banerjee & Gautam Chikermane

the disruptor

In 13 months since its inception, Aam Aadmi Party has done the impossible. Led by its iconoclast leader Arvind Kejriwal, AAP in a short span has come a long way from embracing an idea to running a state. With the Indian politics being a favorite subject for jokes, puns and more worryingly, everything that was wrong with the country, meteoric rise of Arvind Kejriwal has stunned the old horses of politics and bureaucrats alike.

In The Disrupter, veteran journalists Gautam Chikermane and Soma Banerjee provide an in-depth, fly-on-the-wall account of this brand-new political tapestry and how a single political party changed the contemporary political narrative in ways that are both unthinkable and unpredictable.



The Fiction of Fact – Finding : Modi and Godhra

Manoj Mitta

the fiction of factThen terror that Godhra pogrom of 2002 symbolizes is unmatched in history of communal violence. And in the eye of the storm stood the Chief Minister of Gujarat, Narendra Modi. And After sifting through the facts with fine-tooth comb, Supreme Court gave Narendra Modi a clean chit. In this book, Manoj Mitta researches the official documents extensively while looking for the missed pages and forgotten facts. It attempts to expose the various ambiguities and contradictions that haunted the Godhra riots investigation.

The author Manoj Mitta has over 25 years of experience of tracking and reporting issues pertaining to human rights. He is also the author of acclaimed book When a Tree Shook Delhi, which is based on 1984 Sikh riots of Delhi.


Crusader or Conspirator? Coalgate and Other Truths

By P C Parakh

PC ParakhIn this tell-all tale, former coal secretary P C Parakh reveals the truth beyond the infamous coal scam and other underhand dealing of the government. In 2012, india was rocked by the coal scam that was estimated at 1.86 lakh crore; the largest recorded scam in India. Comptroller Auditor General of India found that by restricting the bidding to certain corporate and handpicking the favorites, the cash-starved state lost the money in allocation of coal blocks. CBI then filed an FIR against then coal secretary P C Parakh, questioning his 3 decades of integrity and reputation. With this book, P C Parakh hits back at the ofiicials with startling truths about coal scam and dealing with the top brass of Indian politics. Unflinchingly honest, this book sheds a new light on already infamous coal scam.



Narendra Modi – A Political Biography

By Andy Marino

narendra modi a political biographyLeading India’s Prime Ministerial candidate race is Narendra modi, one of the most popular, powerful and controversial leaders of recent times. BJP’s decision to have its electoral campaign focused solely on giving the country a ‘Modi Sarkar’ is just another testament to the growing influence and power of Narendra Modi. This book sheds light on the contrasting models of governance in Gujarat coupled along with detailed statistical inputs. The book follows Modi right from his childhood to his meteoric political rise.

Andy Marino is an acclaimed British author and TV producer. The content for this book was derived from his exclusive meetings with Narendra Modi and his opponents, supporters and other political leaders.

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5 fabulous food books for foodies! Wed, 16 Apr 2014 12:40:16 +0000 Food and sex are two of the three most important things that consume our waking moments. As an unabashed foodie, (there I said it – the F word), I devour almost anything to do with food. Food porn is a term that was most definitely invented for people like me who stare at food pictures and drool and watch food shows like they have been cast away on a remote island with only a coconut shell for company. 

Good god, is there is almost anything as pleasurable in this world as a well-made dish of food that takes into account your personal likes and preferences? And especially if you also happen to be hungry just then…. hmmm…. that’s a double whammy straight to the gut. The funny thing is that the definition of food varies so much across the world. In fact, we just have to look at the kitchens of our own country to know what an amazing variety of ingredients and combinations exist!

Warning: This compilation of food books is not limited to cookbooks, some of the books included are a quiet scrutiny of what food means to human beings and how we should absorb the making of it and the eating of it into our daily lives as a celebration and a blessing.


In Defence of Food  by Michael Pollan

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 4.21.10 PMWithout whiff of a doubt, one  of my most favourite food writers ever, Michael Pollan puts food exactly where it belongs – out of tins, cartons and packets, right into fields, gardens and kitchen patches. He makes the case for eating ‘real’ food passionately and yet rationally. I have succumbed to the sheer common sense of his argument and am a total fan girl. ‘In Defence of Food’ is a must read for a foodie.






Eat Your Heart Out by Felicity Lawrence

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 4.41.41 PMI can’t remember a book being more of an eye opener than this slim little volume. Filled with food facts about the food industry and how commercialisation of food production has given rise to practices that are devastating to the earth and the food we grow and eat. Why did certain kinds of food come about, why do we need to be acutely aware of all that is going on in the name of food and how do we combat the food giants in order to ensure the food quality of each meal we consume. Wonderful book – buy it for yourself or gift it to a foodie – she’ll bless you for it .





50 Great Curries of India by Camellia Panjabi

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 4.49.27 PM

A definitive anthology of the great Indian curry. Simply written with clear and lucid instructions from the woman who helped build the culinary reputation of the Taj hotel chain. If you love curries like any good Indian, this is a book worth every page. All the recipes are decoded and explained without fuss and without any jargon. One of my favourite cookbooks. Between this book, my Kashmiri neighbours, my Lucknowi colleague’s mother and my own repertoire, I am pretty much am at home with the curry as India knows it.






 Madhur Jaffrey’s Simple Indian Cookery

Screen Shot 2014-04-15 at 5.57.00 PMNothing really needs to be said to introduce Madhur Jaffrey, popular TV cook show host and author of many, many volumes on Indian cooking. Most of us know her and have watched her deftly cook her way across the country thanks to the BBC. She’s also an accomplished actress and author of a warm childhood memoirs, ‘Climbing the Mango Trees’.







The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten

Screen Shot 2014-04-16 at 2.24.39 PMSteingarten was an ordinary human being and food lover, much like the rest of us. Then one day, he was appointed the food critic for Vogue magazine. That changed him forever. To quote him, “Suddenly, intense food preferences, whether phobias or cravings, struck me as the most serious of all personal limitations. That very day I sketched out a Six-Step Program to liberate my palate and my soul. No smells or tastes are innately repulsive, I assured myself, and what’s learned can be forgot.” That also led to a number of experiments and discoveries and also many superb food essays which led to this book. A must-read for the food explorer.





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5 Most Awaited Books of 2014 Wed, 09 Apr 2014 10:58:52 +0000 Remember the feeling when you see your friend’s expression of incredulous surprise when you mumble feebly that you haven’t heard of a particular much awaited book? We believe we have the perfect solution! We bring you the most awaited books of the year that everyone has been waiting for with bated breath:

Be Careful What You Wish For

Jeffrey Archer

Release: March

Be-Careful-What-You-Wish-For-The-Clifton-Chronicles-by-Jeffrey-Archer This is the fourth installment in the Clifton series by the renowned author Jeffrey Archer. The series is an epic  tale  about Clifton and Barrington family, starting with the protagonist Harry Clifton. This fourth edition has  the  Clifton and Barrington family caught in the midst of increasingly unpredictable situations. Add to the cast  a  hitherto unknown Cedric Hardcastle, the new member on the board of Barrington’s firm. Colored with life,  death and much more, this story of power struggle, love and greed is another page turner from the master  storyteller Jeffrey Archer.



The Accidental Prime Minister

By Sanjaya Baru

Release: April

accidental prime minister In 2004, the author Sanjaya Basu received a strange request from PM. He wanted Baru to become his eyes  and ears. Working in the capacity of Media Advisor to the Prime Minister, Baru was offered the job of words:  “Sitting here, I know I will be isolated from the outside world. I want you to be my eyes and ears. Tell me  what you think I should know, without fear or favour.”

This is an account of managing public opinion for the Prime Minister. In this book, Sanjaya Baru puts forth  his experiences as the trusted aid of the Prime Minister for 4 years. He covers the curious relationship  between the PM and Sonia Gandhi, the complex equation he shared with his ministers and his tryst with the  opposition. Insightful, accurate and full of political gossip, this is one of the great insider account of the  Manmohan Singh era.


The Target

By David Baldacci

Release: April

The-Target-David-Baldacci-220x340 Bestselling author David Baldacci is back with his third book featuring CIA hit man Will Robie and his fellow  agent, Jessica Reel. This time, they have been assigned with a task that must be completed successfully and  should be untraceable, or else the President and the nation must suffer the consequences. They both have  plenty of  ‘friends’ who will make sure that they do not survive this assignment. While Reel deals with her  own personal  ghosts from the past intent on revisiting, another master assassin has been put on the assassin  duo’s tail.

The Target holds multiple layers of suspense and plot surprises, all making it worthy contender for number  one spot on bestsellers list.


The One & Only

By Emily Giffin

Release: May

the-one-and-only New York Times bestselling author Emily Giffin returns with her new novel The One & Only. This novel has  an unconventional female protagonist at the center, struggling to come to terms with love and loyalty. Settled  and happy in her football crazy town of Walker, Shea Rigsby is a content 33 year old woman. But when a  tragedy strikes the town, she is forced to reconsider if the life she has is enough? This begins a journey of self  discovery and testing the untested path; a path that leads her to questioning the beliefs and the people she  had unconditionally trusted so far. This is a tale of how she confronts her deepest fears, insecurities and  secrets and discovers the strengths she never thought she had.

Thoughtful, emotional and brilliantly observant, this book is touted to turn out to be the finest one from the  famous author yet.


The Silkworm

By Robert Galbraith

Release: June


Ever since Sunday Times blew the cover of J.K Rowling a.k.a. Robert Galbraith, The Cuckoo’s Calling has  been  topping bestseller charts. And if The Cuckoo’s Calling is anything to go by, we can hardly wait to see the  protagonist Cormoran Strike again! In the second book in the Cormoran Strike series, The Silkworm,  novelist Owen Quine has gone missing. When Strike  embarks upon the search for the writer, he discovers  much more than what he had expected. The novelist  has  just finished a manuscript that, if published, would  ruin the lives of many. And when Quin’s brutally  murdered  body turns a missing investigation in to a murder  investigation, Strike realizes he has been served  much more  than what he bargained for.


So just pull up that cozy reading chair, reach out for your book and prepare get serenaded by these much anticipated titles. Looks like happy reading times ahead!

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Three fun ways to make your child fall in love with reading! Wed, 09 Apr 2014 09:38:07 +0000 If your child doesn’t read, he will grow up with a disadvantage compared to children who do read. So follow these simple three ways to make a reader out of him and he’ll bless you for each time he picks up a book! …. so here goes! 

1. Make sure she has books to explore from day one.

She needs to see books as part and parcel of her daily life. And for that to happen, you have to have books lying around for her to explore from the time she’s one and two years old. There is no other way. Books have to be there, all around her. And it helps if you love them too! But still all is not lost if you’re not a reader – as long as you introduce her to the magic that books are filled with.

 2. Do read out to him every single day!

Mummies, don’t bother if you miss dusting that shelf. Let the TV stay switched off. And every now and then, try Maggi or pasta for dinner, instead of a proper meal. Turn at least one night a week into a ‘Reading Night’ where you grab a sandwich and then get down to reading stories to him for at least an hour. Children of all ages LOVE a good story. So read out to them whether they’re two or twelve!

 3. Practise your ‘drama’ skills on them!

Children love theatre and action. So give it to them. ‘Become’ the dragon, a gruff voice. ‘Become’ the witch, try a thin and reedy cackle! Try adding ‘bow-wow’ effects wherever there’s a dog. Add ‘meh-meh’ for goats. When you sing ‘Old MacDonald had a farm’ for them, make the farm animal noises come alive! I can promise you you’ll have such fun. Encourage them to contribute the special effects. Reading and books need to be seen as fun time and magical moments spent with Mom and Dad. Remember, you’re creating memories for all time to come.


Here are 6 great read-aloud author suggestions for your precious ones! These are authors that have the proven enchanted touch, creating distinctive worlds filled with whimsy and character. Marvellously individualistic denizens make for much oohs and aahs as you read out loud from this gifted bunch of storytellers. We think you’ll have a whale of a good time too!  

1. Richard Scarry (1 year to 8-9 years): One of our fave authors – his beautifully illustrated books with animal characters such as Huckle Cat and Lowly Worm among a zillion others are fun to read out! Let yourself go as you imitate hen clucks,  hippo sounds and hyena growls ! Have fun with your child!

2. Gerald Durrell (8-9 years onwards): An author from an earlier era, Durrell was an Irishman with the gift of blarney. A zoologist by profession he spun out a book each time he needed to fund an expedition. The stories are all true, based on his nomadic childhood with a madcap and eccentric family. Wonderful stuff!

3. Enid Blyton (2 years – 12 years onwards): Who hasn’t heard of this spinner of stories of elves, pixies and goblins? Her toys come alive at night and have tea parties – a quaint Brit concept which we Indians have quite taken to heart. Her detective series with Fatty and his Findouters, the Secret Seven and the Adventurous Five are a favourite with Indian children.

4. Arthur Conan Doyle (the Sherlock Holmes series –  8-9 years onwards): The most enthralling stories filled with crime and despicable villains that feature hounds with glowing jaws, travelling Mormons in the Salt Lake Desert and a midnight rendezvous with a venomous adder. Few know that Sherlock Holmes was actually modelled after Conan Doyle’s college professor – Dr Joseph Bell.

5. J.K. Rowling (7-12 onwards): Magic saw a new revival with Rowling’s mesmerising world of witches, wizards and Muggles! Ah! What wouldn’t ‘normal’ children give to be able to use Mischief Maps and Invisibility cloaks. Maybe they’d even trade in their cricket bats and footballs to play Quidditch on brooms – enchanted ones, of course!

6. Roald Dahl (6-8 years onwards): No one quite presents the most delightfully wicked characters as successfully as Dahl does – horrible witches, evil school principals and crafty, child-guzzling crocodiles, the terrible Twits and so many other monstrous villains! In one word – exciting! Plus his collection of short stories are dark enough to fascinate your teenager, too.

A last tip: With older kids, read out the more difficult books – the ones that you want them to read but are afraid they may not pick up on their own. I tried snatches of Tolkien on my children, bits from Gerald Durrell, PG Wodehouse and Jack London. Also, occasionally, Shakespeare, Shelly and Yeats, as I love poetry too. These are all authors who use language so beautifully.

A last gift: Listen to why TED speaker Lisa Bu recommends we all should read books….!


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