101 Folktales From India
This one book is a definite must for all parents who want their kids to read Indian stories rather than just Harry Potter, Nancy Drew, Enid Blyton, Hardy Boys or God forbid Twilight series!!!!!
Its called, ‘One Hundred and One Folktales From India‘ written by Eunice De Souza. The book, as is self explanatory, is a collection of folktales from all across India-from Kashmir, to Nagaland, to Assam, to Konkan, to Kerala etc. Some tales are new, never before chronicled, or rarely narrated in such collections. While some are very popular, well known stories.The book is divided into 6 parts, each having a separate theme. There are stories about magical beings, about kings and queens, heroes, Gods, clever men and women, saints and sadhus, of famous personlaities like Akbar Birbal, Tansen, Tenali Raman, of beasts and birds and several more!
The language is simple, clear cut, easy for the youngest children to grasp and coupled with superb black and white illustrations done by Sujata Singh, these tales are sure to entice kids. The stories can also be enjoyed by adults who have little time to read and want short, simple, witty stories. Its a great book to read if one is travelling short distances. One can easily read five to six stories in about 15 minutes since most stories are one or two pages only. Its a good way to revisit one’s childhood when such stories were popular to read or get in touch with Indian folktales.
Despite its collection and marvellous illustrations, many parents would prefer buying some other folktales books like the Amar Chitra Katha or Aesop fables books. The former is in general very popular and its colourful illustrations along with the comic book style format will surely catch the eye of any young kid more than Eunice De Souza’s ‘One Hundred and One Folktales From India.’ That’s one and the only disadvantage of the book. There are just so many better, more vibrant, colourful books about India’s rich folktales and mythology that both parents and kids might prefer that. They may view De Souza’s book as just another big, fat, long, textbook type book that completely discourages them from buying it. Of course, a parent can definitely influence a kid’s choice!
Apart from that, ‘One Hundred and One Folktales From India‘ is a brilliant collection of stories, fables and folktales that allows any reader, with its simple language, to get a glimpse of India’s rich stories!
Night by Elie Wiesel
A Night To Remember
‘Night‘ by Elie Wiesel is not a book for the faint hearted or for those looking for a casual read. The book maybe thin but don’t judge it by the size. Its profound impact on the reader goes beyond its volume.
The book deals with the Holocaust-one of the brutal genocides in 20th century. Wiesel was just a teenager living in a nondescript town of Sighet in Transylvania when the Nazi troops came and bullied all the Jews into ghettos and eventually the concentration camp. Wiesel was separated from his mother and sisters and had only his father along with him.
‘Night‘ is a heart wrenching autobiographical account of Wiesel’s own horrifying experience in several concentration camps-from Buna to Auschwitz and eventually to Buchenwlad. It talks of unimaginable horrors that Wiesel himself suffered and saw all around him, being meted out to countless Jews in the camps. It records Wiesel’s own struggles, his gradual disillusionment in God, his numbness towards all the suffering around him, his love and support for his father and the eventual disappearance of that support, of innocence and the appearance of a self centered thinking that was sowed by the brutality he witnessed in the camps.
The reader sees the transformation that Wiesel went through and how life in the concentration camps made animals out of humans, how it sapped the hope of the most optimistic person and sapped the most devout person of his faith.
Page after page will make the reader cringe, force him/her to feel the pain, ponder on how anyone could survive such colossal pain, ponder on how such a mass genocide was allowed to take place. Hopefully the book will etch the story in the reader’s mind forever so that they never forget-Wiesel’s aim in writing this book in the first place. Hopefully, readers will remember the Holocaust, because as Wiesel puts it,”to forget the dead would be akin to killing them a second time.”(pg. XV,’Night‘ by Elie Wiesel,Hill and Wang Publication, First Edition,2006).
Moreover, what I hope the readers will take away from this book, is that we, as readers, should intervene if and when such genocides happen because Holocaust is by no means the last such genocide. They keep happening and continue even in the 21st century-the so called progressive age. It is imperative that we learn from history, from one man’s ordeal that such horrors must never be allowed to happen because that strip humans of the humanity that we are all entitled to.
The Girl who played with fire by Stieg Larsson
Certain people in law and secret police circles are involved in morbid sex slavery and the like. Lisbeth Salander gets into this mire and soon half a dozen people want her dead and six feet under.
In the second installment of Stieg Larsson’s “Millenium trilogy”, asocial hacker Lisbeth Salander is on the run as she is a marked person. She is hunted by several parties all of which have a unique tie with each other — sex slavery. The girl who played with fire delves a little deeper into Lisbeth Salander’s morbid childhood in a broken home as her father regularly abused her mother. The last straw was when Lisbeth’s mother was knocked senseless and with a hemorrhaging brain when Lisbeth made sure that “the evil happened” to her father; picture a Molotov cocktail being tossed in after you into the car.
There are several characters and a few meandering story lines so I will break this down for you to the best of my codeine addled brain:
1) Bjorck and Bjurmann attorneys, together with Zalachenko in the seventies were part of the Swedish secret police, Sapo.
2) Zalachenko and Salander and a Molotov cocktail made from a milk carton in the early nineties, met. This resulted in Salander was thrown into an abusive asylum
3) Now Bjurmann was Salander’s guardian in the new millenium. The circle was complete.
4) Bjorck, Bjurmann and Zalachenko were all involved in sex slavery at some level or the other.
Lisbeth Salander was the woman who hated men who hate women and, by her very existence, threatened to rip the net of sex slavery wide open and hence is marked and obviously she had to be silenced. Bjurmann eventually took Zalachenko’s help to wipe Salander off the earth. Along the way our protagonist Blomkvist’s friend and fellow journalist Svensson and his wife Johansson were shot.
But why? Who is Zalachenko? How is he related to Salander?
My cryptic review aptly ends as abruptly as the book itself. I will get my hands on the final denouement and be back with a review soon, that much I promise! Until then, happy holidays!
Author: Stieg Larsson
ISBN 978-0307269980 (English)
The girl with the dragon tattoo
Author: Stieg Larsson
ISBN 978-1-84724-254-2 (English)
Publication date: 2005
Translated by: Reg Keeland
Harriet Vanger has been missing and presumed dead for 40 years. But then why does her great uncle, Henrik Vanger, still receive one framed flower every year on his birthday, from her?
Sweden may be the land of the midnight sun, blondes and the furniture manufacturers, Ikea, but Stieg Larsson’s book is anything but the pink picture painted by my opening line. “Män som hatar kvinnor” or “Men who hate women” (known as “The girl with the dragon tattoo”) is an intricate book that exposes the murky and horrific underbelly of the fictitious Vanger corporation where almost every character above 70 is a misogynist who resorts to incarcerating, raping and mutilating women as a release for their sadistic sexual tension.
The story follows disgraced journalist, Mikael Blomkvist who has recently lost a libel case against one Wennerström corporation and takes on the Henrik Vanger’s offer of investigating the death or disappearance of his grand-niece, Harriet Vanger over 40 years ago.
Along the way his path crosses that of Lisbeth Salander, an asocial punk-type who also happens to be a brilliant hacker. As the unlikely duo team up to uncover the truth about Harriet Vanger’s death or disappearance, they also uncover the secretive, misogynistic and sadistic vile life of a member of the Vanger family.
It is very difficult to summarize the book without giving away all the intricate yet shocking details that would be revealed as one reads the book. The book itself isn’t a spectacular work of literature as obviously it has been translated from Swedish to English and literal translation always fails at several steps. Also, the beginning and the end of the books pale in comparison to the fast paced middle but are quite paramount (obviously!).
It is worth a read and I look forward to reading the second in the series “Flickan som lekte med elden” or “The girl who played with fire”.
Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie
Author: Agatha Christie
Lead Character: Hercule M. Poirot
Genre: Fiction, Crime Thriller, Murder Mystery
Who do you think is the best detective character after Sherlock Holmes? Do you even know other characters? Well, in case you don’t know let me introduce to you Hercule M. Poirot, A Belgian by Birth but settled in UK and he does best what he does – solving Mysteries. Kudos to Agatha Christie for having brought Poirot to light.
Talking about the book, Dead Man’s Folly is a story based in the 1950’s in UK. Ariadne Oliver is an author who specializes in Mystery books. Her Services are called upon by Mr. and Mrs. Sir George Stubs, a noveau rich war hero who now owns the Famous Nasse House.
Nasse house is organizing a garden fete and Ms. Oliver is called upon to arrange a new game, a Murder mystery, more like a treasure hunt where the participants work their way through the clues until they reach boat house where a local girl is enacting a dead body. Ms Ariadne Oliver is glad and up and about her work. But something is not right. She feels someone is making her do things as a part of the mystery game that will help him/her/them to meet their end objectives. At this point she seeks the help of her old friend M. Poirot to help her and to prevent the murder if it actually takes place.
But the girl in boat house is murdered, so are the other people. Hercule Poirot, though not able to prevent the murder doesn’t give up until he solves the mystery and finds the culprit.
I would not say that this is one of the best adventures of Poirot and definitely not one of the best books by Agatha Christie. There is not much of depth to the characters and the clues provided are a bit obscure. The description of the mansions and building at a point gets drab but nevertheless, once Poirot begins putting the pieces into the puzzle that it gets interesting.
If you are interested in detective works and if you are big Christie fan and if you want to relive the Sherlock-Holmes-Like stories, then go for it. It is definitely worth one read.
The Mistress of Spices by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
As the name suggests, it is a story of a Mistress of Spices! Sounded interesting hence I chose this one to read. It is written by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni who also wrote “Arranged Marriage”, a book which I honestly did not know until I read this title.
Mistress of Spices is a story of a girl who is born to poor parents and regarded as a one who will again put her parents in misery as they will have to pay dowry. Little did they know at the time of her birth that she is born with supernatural powers of foreseeing future. As her fame spread, pirates hear about her and abducts her one day! However, she was powerful enough to overthrow the chief and became the queen of pirates. She was not satisfied and when in search of peace, she comes to an island where she is to become the Mistress of Spices under the rigorous training of First Mother.
The First Mother teaches her along with other girls all about the Spices. These spices are later to be used to cure other peoples’ misery when given to them with the magical chants. Once she manages to learn all those Special Powers, she is to run a Spice Store in Oakland. She is given the name ‘Tilo’. Tilo should never leave the store, she should never use the powers for herself but for others to help and last but not the least she should not make any physical contact with any human being. As the story progresses, readers find smaller stories intertwined where Tilo uses her powers to help others. While helping others, she is so taken into it that one after another she starts breaking the forbidden rules laid for Mistresses. Not only she breaks rules but she also allows herself to fall in love with a lonely American. Once she does that, there is no looking back even though the Spices punish her, First Mother warns her of the outcomes……she overrules all, the adamant, obstinate TILO.
Does she succeed in finding her true love, what happens exactly when she breaks all rules, how do spices punish her, who is the lonely American, how does she help the miserable through her special powers? All this and more in the novel where each chapter is named after a Spice ….I wished and imagined also if actually one can use the spices available in the kitchen the way it is used in the Book . The book is a good read for all those who believe in Magic and also for those who don’t for you can always enjoy the other aspects. How does Tilo re-emerges as “Maya” in the end is for you to read. It is an interesting story of magical powers of a woman who uses her powers to help others and self and finally re-emerges as Maya. A story of a woman who dares to taste the forbidden! Whether she succeeds or not in her search & unknown desires is for the readers to find out.
Ginger Chai verdict – Read it in leisure and you may be compelled to complete it at the earliest.
Airport by Arthur Hailey
The book recounts 12 nervous hours in the life fictional airport ‘Lincoln International’ at Chicago and how the lives of about a dozen people collide as a result.
Mel Bakersfield (Airport General Manager),
Cindy Bakersfield (Mel’s wife),
D O Guerro (a passenger with a terrifying agenda!),
Tanya Livingston (A passenger relations officer; Mel has an affair with her),
Vernon Demerest (Captain and pilot of the flight ‘The Golden Argosy’ to Italy, and Mel’s brother-in-law),
Gwen Meighen (Senior Stewardess on board The Golden Argosy and Vernon’s mistress),
Eliott Freemantle (Lawyer with questionable ethics trying to bilk a local community that has been forever tormented by the literal din created by the airport, as a result of its proximity)
Joe Patroni (head of maintenance at the airport)
Ada Quosnett (A senior citizen and a Stowaway!)
The book is quite huge and phenomenal in detail and it’s quite a challenge to write a review without writing a book again!
Mel Bakersfield has to deal with the following in twelve long, prickly hours:
Lincoln International has been hammered by the worst snow storm in recorded history with feet of snow banks covering major runways. One such runway is Runway 30 which Joe Patroni, the heavily experienced legendary maintenance chief is trying to clear. Needless to say, air traffic has taken a bad hit!
Ada Quosnett, a senior citizen and a veteran of stowing-away on aircrafts gets herself, surreptitiously onto the ‘Golden Argosy’, a flight to Italy.
Vernon Demerest, who loathes Mel is one of the pilots of the Golden Argosy. He recently found out that his mistress, Gwen Meighen, was a few weeks pregnant with his child. The problem — he is in an emotionless marriage that he wants to break away from but doesn’t want to have a child either!
Tanya Livingston is ‘Trans America Airline’s passenger relations and she has a thing for Mel which is not unrequited! She is also an intelligent, savvy person and can deal with difficult people and difficult situations.
D O Guerrero is a failed building contractor. His family is impecunious. He hatches a plan, a nasty one! He plans on boarding the ‘Golden Argosy’ and blow it to smithereens once it’s in the air. The resulting insurance money (provided that the reason for the explosion goes undetected) would help his penurious family.
As all this is going on, Eliott Freemantle, a scheming lawyer has a demonstration right in the airport.
The book recounts Mel Bakerfield’s reaction to 12 hours of shear suspense which include a philandering wife, feet of snow on an important run way, a mid air explosion gone wrong, picketing by the lawyer, his own brother’s suicidal tendency, a stowaway and not to mention, a pregnancy!
In short: Yes, the bomb does go off.
No, the aircraft doesn’t crash but is close to it!
Yes, Cindy Bakersfield has an affair and Mel and Cindy split by mutual consent.
Yes, Eliott Freemantle, the corrupt lawyer is defeated as a result of Mel’s glib recollection of several proceedings from the court of law.
No, the end isn’t entirely happy. Neither is it tragic. Just complete.
Every time I think of an airport, several details that I was completely oblivious to before I read the book seem obvious to me! This is a delightful foray into the internal workings and those of customs officers, lawyers, maintenance men, police officers, not to mention politically motivated ‘people’ and crisis management teams that goes on in an airport and best known to us, ‘weary travelers’!
Are you a writer? Publisher? Want to get your books reviewed here? Just write to us to get reviewed. Write to sip[at]gingerchai[dot]com or contact us here
The Hot Zone by Richard Preston
The Hot Zone, is a 1994 New York Times best seller book by Richard Preston. The Book discusses the sudden reappearance of the Ebola virus, which was then limited to Southern Africa, to be discovered in Washington D.C. How America responds to the virus and whether it succeeded in ensuring the safety of its citizens from the Ebola virus outbreak forms the remaining story.
The Book starts off with the first victim of the deadly Ebola virus, back in 1980s. A couple of years later, another young boy falls victim to the virus. With the symptoms of both the victims being highly similar, parallels are drawn between them. United States Army Medical Research Institute for Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) is alerted with part of the samples from both the victims. Gene Johnson, one of the USAMRIID’s guys starts investigating into the virus.
Preston discusses the chronology of events that begins in 1984, interspersed with interviews from some of the individuals who were part of the relief team that stopped the outbreak from entering the suburbs of Washington D.C.
Ebola Virus has long been declared a deadly virus with several different strains to its name. Ebola Zaire, Marburg, Ebola Reston are some of the many strains. Ebola Reston was what that broke out in Washington D.C. Thought considered deadly, the virus was declared non fatal towards human tissue. Marburg on the other hand, causes the affected to bleed to his death. The recent case of Marburg was in Southern Africa in 2009. Till today, there hasn’t been a vaccine for any of the Ebola strain.
I found this book scary. Bleeding to one’s death, liver turning into jelly just doesn’t sound very fun. To express how creep- inducing Ebola can be, allow me to quote the author:
“What AIDS Virus can do in ten years, Ebola does that in 7 days”.
If that is not freaky, I don’t know what else is.
Compared to AIDS, which was also known to have passed on from monkeys, Ebola is a hot agent that adapts itself to the environment of the host it inhibits. It works as an anti-coagulant, thus preventing the blood from clotting causing the victim to bleed from any available orifice in his body.
The fear of the victims, the doctors, the research unit, miracle survivor who lived to share his story, all of their interactions has been intricately woven into the account of the outbreak. The account follows that of a diary to give the reader an informal feel to the novel and not be overwhelmed by the jargon.
A movie based on this novel, or more specifically Ebola was released in 1995 titled Outbreak.
Overall, it was an enlightening read to the many hidden secrets of the living species.
Are you a writer? Publisher? Want to get your books reviewed here? Just write to us to get reviewed. Write to sip[at]gingerchai[dot]com or contact us here
The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand
The Fountain Head is a story of one man and the rest of the world. It is a philosophical fiction that entails the story through love, lust, trust, jealousy, care, passion, and enthusiasm of the people and the world.
The story starts with the two architecture students, Howard Roark and Peter Keating; one being expelled from the college for his designing methods that were considered inappropriate by the professors, and the latter being the topper of the same college. The story moves on marking the methods and principles, they adopted in their architectural career, and how it became the reason for their success and downfalls. It also presents a very powerful picture of print media – how it can control the people, the world and their opinions.
There are certain parts in the book which can be read, reread and reread a number of times. While reading it, there were instances, when I lost track of the book, and drove on to the path of my own life, thinking deeply about it. This book is so powerful in its essence, that it can change a person’s view for nature, world, society, and an individual. This is one of the most intelligently written books that I have come across; one lady suffering for her lover, two men wanting to own the world, other people dancing to the tunes of money and fame, and one man living his life as he desired, all this together make this a very energetic and dynamic book.
||15 April 1943
||Print (Hardback & Paperback)
- Reviewd by Chetan Maheshwari. To read other book reviews of Chetan, Click HERE.
Do you love writing? If then, Contact Us for details.
Abduction by Robin Cook
A scientific research deep sea drilling team drills into an underwater volcano except that it isn’t a volcano at all!
Perry Bergman (President of Benthic marine), Suzanne (Oceanographer), Donald (ex-navy), Michael (ex-naval diver who was thrown out the Navy as a result of more than a few transgressions), Richard (same story as Michael!)
Benthic marine is an exploration and drilling vessel which sends a team down to investigate an underwater oceanographic anomaly. They expect to find an underwater volcano but when the team approaches the said anomaly, they get sucked into a seemingly bottomless pit into a dystopian world where there are ‘people’ living. Really beautiful people, physically and mentally -A utopia. They call their land ‘interterra‘.
The interterrans are supposedly the ‘first’ race of humans ever who moved underground and underwater to escape a predicament that awaited the dinosaurs and such. So, having a leg up on the ‘second generation humans’, the interterran’s technology far exceeds the wildest imagination of the drilling team.
The interterrans welcome the unexpected guests and bestow on them all the pleasures of life that could be imaginable. They come to realize the very many fascinating advances in science that the interterrans have made. For instance, they’ve somehow perfected the human body to sustain several centuries without severe debilitation. And if the human body were to wither away, the ‘essence’ of the body would be captured and injected into another body, a next life.
However, what dawns on our team of intrepid scientists and ex-navy soldiers that they are prisoners in a gilded cage. The interterrans have no intention of letting them go back to the surface as that would give away this secret and given the belligerent nature of us, the second generation humans, it would only bring war, terror and despair to interterra.
The unwilling participants, except Suzanne (who decides to remain in Interterra), somehow contrive an escape by taking a few of the interterrans hostage. This leads to the interterran government eventually realizing that they couldn’t stop the escaping second generation humans and hence ‘send them back’.
But where exactly do they ‘send them back’? Little do Perry Bergman, Donald, Michael and Richard know that although they’ve escaped the underwater gilded prison, they are in for a humongous surprise when they do figure out what they’ve swapped interterra for!
A must read for fans of Robin Cook. This is the first time the american author has deviated from medical mysteries and has done a good job at that!
Robin Cook does an amazing job with creating the dystopian utopia, Interterra and the trials, tribulations and psychological effect it has on all characters.
Book: Abduction (2000)
Author: Robin Cook
- Article written by Sir Pumpkin Longshanks. The name may sound funny and weird and it spills over his character too. He prefers to keep his identity secret and we respect his choice. Want to read more of his articles ? Click HERE.
Do you love writing?
Share your thoughts with the rest of the world throug us. To be part of GingerChai Contact Us.