Wordless Wednesday…ummm friday: Srilanka

I know it’s Friday but can’t help it. I cannot wait for next Wednesday to upload the pics. These pics are around 2 years old but I found them on one of my Google+ accounts, so here they are…




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11 question meme

So Melody from mel-reading-corner tagged me some time back for this. I had to answer 11 questions, come up with 11 questions of my own and tag 11 more people. So here we go.

1. Who’s your idol? It can be anyone and don’t have to be a celebrity or a public figure.
My Father. He didnt have much growing up and Im inspired by the way he overcame all the obstacles in his life. I hope I can be as strong as he was if I ever face anything difficult.

2. If you can be someone famous, who do you like to be?
I would most probably like to be either a singer or a dancer. Or maybe a famous author, someone like J.K.Rowling or Suzanne Collins whose books people eagerly await to read.

3. What are your favourite TV shows or movies?
Grey’s Anatomy. Thats the first show that comes to my mind. I saw the first four seasons back to back since I was late catching up. I also like Graham Norton show. I think he’s hilarious. I like Don’t tell my mother which comes on NATGEO. I even have a little crush on Diego Bunuel.

4. Harry Potter or Lord of the Rings? Why?
I haven’t read any of these books (I know) but I have seen the Harry Potter movies. So Harry Potter.

5. Popcorns. Sweet or salty? Why?
Salty. I don’t like sweet in anything except deserts.

6. Facebook or Twitter? Why?
Both but I prefer Facebook.

7. What are your pet peeves?
I do have a few but can’t recall any.

8. Where do you like to go on a vacation?
Egypt, Africa, Spain. Basically the whole world. Bt practically I would like to go to Combodia. In fact, I do have a trip planned to Combodia in May.

9. Your most wonderful memories you had last year.
Many to mention

10. What’s your favourite holiday?
Diwali: The festival of lights.
Holi: The festival of colours.

11. Finally, I couldn’t resist asking a bookish question: Would you read a book which has received lots of hype and positive reviews, even though the storyline isn’t what you like to read?
I would probably borrow it from the library and give the first few pages a try. I most probably would not buy it unless it’s on super sale or something.

My 11 questions are here
1. Describe your dream profession
2. Who is your fav anti-hero or villain in literature?
3. How many books do you own?
4. Do you prefer windows or MAc?
5. If there was one place you would like to live for a year or 2 which place would it be?
6. which is your fav Disney movie?
7. How many languages can you speak?
8. Which is the song you have been listening to a lot recently?
9. What is your fav TV show?
10. Which is your fav season
11. Which is your fav drink?

It’s really difficult for me to tag 11 people, so I tag whoever wants to do this tag. Feel free to do it and let me know in the comments if you do. I would love to read your answers.

NOTE: Wow,  wordpress seems to have drastically changed in the past few days I was away. I don’t think I like it though. Maybe I need to wait and see or blog more so that I can get used to the changes 🙂

Uncategorized 6

The Informationist by Taylor Stevens

Title: The Informationist
Author: Taylor Stevens
Genre: Thriller (Adult fiction)
Source: Review Copy
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Crown; First Edition edition (March 8, 2011)
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

My Thoughts:
I usually don’t read a lot of thrillers. I used to read many but mostly by Sidney Sheldon, Robin Cook or Mary Higgins Clark. But lately I don’t find myself picking up an authors book just because I want to read a thriller.

But I LOVED the Informationist. I will go as far as saying it’s one of the best thrillers I have read in a long time. I could be biased because this book has everything that I love and look for in a thriller. I tend to love books set in Africa and I don’t like cozy mysteries/ thrillers. I like them to be grand, I like them to be set in exotic places. BAsically I don’t like those one room or one town thrillers. I don’t like those detective thrillers either.

This book is set in Africa and I love everything set in Africa. I find everything about Africa fascinating. The Informationist is about Vanessa Monroe who is The Informationist. She goes to developing countries to gather inside information and she sells this information to business tycoons or business people who then use it to set themselves up in these developing countries. So when she is given this assignment of this missing girl she is reluctant because it’s not really what she does but she is keen because it will take her back to Africa which is her birth place and where she spent the initial years of her life and there is something that she doesn’t want to face and keep in her past which is why she is reluctant to take the assignment.

But there is a part of her that makes her want to go back and face her demons which is why she accepts it and it doesn’t hurt that the missing fathers girl is a millionnaire and he offers her a lot of money. So this is the basic premise of the book. All said and done this is not really a missing person’s story. We also learn a lot about Vanessa’s past and why she is the way she is. Vanessa is this kick-ass heroine who is intelligent and resourceful. She always gets what she wants. She is also very adventurous. She is ready to do things that many people wont do and she has the connections to do them. When she goes ot Africa she goes to Equirotial Guinea and places around it. What was really fun was following her through West Africa. She travels via boat, on foot and it was just so different and nice to get inside information on West Africa. I’m not sure how much the author knows about the place but in the Q and A given at the end of the book it says that she has stayed there for a few years and it shows.

I just wish there was a map somewhere in this book because I’m not very knowledgable on that part on Africa and I don’t think many people are. But I googled and found a really good map. I had fun following Vanessa’s journey from the capital of Equitorial Guinea to Cameroon to all these exotic paces. If you want to read a book that is different from the wildlife, the Serengeti, mass migration and even the war, this book is perfect for you.

So in conclusion I would say that this is a very fast paced, page turning, edge of the seat thriller and I really hope you give this book a chance even if you don’t read thrillers.

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You can WATCH my review of the same below if you are interested 🙂

A quick rant involving GoodReads…

I will keep this short and sweet, well probably NOT sweet which is probably because I’m very irritated.

Just today, I found 3 people on GoodReads whose taste in books felt similar to mine and I thought I could just add them as friends. But I got really irritated when they asked me to answer a question to just add them. Come on, guys, you’re not celebrities that you have to make people answer questions to be-friend you. If you don’t want to add the person in return, just don’t.

I’m cool with questions like –
How did you find me?
or
What are you reading at the moment?

or similar questions that could be answered in like one word or one sentence but questions like

What are your top 10 books of all time and why?
or
Tell me what do you think of the modern classics re-telling in 5 sentences is infuriating. I will NOT add you, my time and friends list is as precious as yours.

While the questions above are good, the place to ask them isn’t. There is probably a very good reason why people add these questions but I wish they would just keep them short. For e.g I saw this question on someone’s GoodReads profile
“I hate these questions, just tell me something you want me to know about you. But it has to be something “. This is a great question because I can answer it in a simple short sentence or I can elaborate if I want to. That way it isn’t infuriating.

May be I’m not making any sense and maybe none of you really mind. If anyone of you already on my friends list has had a question, it means I LOVE you and your question didn’t irritate me. I simply don’t add people whose questions I don’t like.

I’ll probably regret posting this later but for now I have to vent somewhere.

PEACE…

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Sorry for neglecting my blog lately but I simply don’t feel like writing reviews lately but I will probably be back in a few days.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Title: Lola and the Boy Next Door
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Source: Library
Set in: San Francisco (U.S)
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

My thoughts:
I think I was probably the last ones to read Anna and the French kiss. I read it a couple of months back and although I didn’t love it, I did like it a lot. There were a couple of things I didn’t like about the book. Firstly I think Stephanie Perkins relied too much on the Paris setting and Paris does not do much for me. I mean I’m sure it’s a great city and all but I haven’t seen it and whatever I’ve seen on TV doesn’t impress me much. The second thing was Anna. I thought she was very irritating, I can’t pinpoint why but it’s very difficult to love a book when you don’t like the central character.

But I liked Stephanie Perkins writing so when I saw Lola and the Boy Next Door on the library shelf, I grabbed it because new books don’t tend to stay on the shelf for long. And I loved this book. It was a very fun book to read with a few serious issues covered as well. I loved Lola, I think she was a very colorful and fun character. I liked the way she dressed and loved that she was artistic and loved to design or mix and match her costumes. She was a very fun character to read about and she would be a fun person to be friends with as well.

The Boy Next Door, Cricket, was well, perfect. It works only because it’s a romance novel. There are many other things I loved about the book as well. I loved the authors writing. She reminds me of Sarah Dessen and although I love Sarah Dessen more I think Stephanie Perkins is fast becoming one of my favorite authors.

The second thing I liked was Lola has gay parents and I love that Stephanie Perkins had the courage to portray something like this. She showed that gay parents can bring up a perfectly normal child. The characters were great as well-Cricket’s sister, Lola’s friend Lindsey, her parents. Oh and if you loved Anna and the French Kiss, you’ll love this book more, because here we get to see what happened to Anna and St. Clair after Paris. And they don’t take over the story, they kind of blend in and Lola and Cricket are still the central characters.

Another thing I loved was the San Francisco setting. Stephanie Perkins describes a city really well and she makes me want to visit San Francisco sometime. Also, I love that Lola and Cricket have lives outside of their love story.
So, in conclusion, I would say I really loved this one. And if you haven’t read these books yet, I would suggest you start with Anna and the French Kiss first.

And….here is the video for the same if you are interested. It’s not that good but I promise I will improve 🙂

Wordless Wednesday: World’s Largest Floating Bookfair: Logos Hope

Happy New Year everyone!!!

Click to Enlarge

I actually had a video of the inside of the ship but I accidentally deleted it. I feel really bad but there is nothing I can do about it.

Related video:

Daughter of Xanadu by Dori Jones Yang

Title: Daughter of Xanadu
Author: Dori Jones YAng
Source: Library
Set in: Mongolia
Rating: 4 out of 5

My thoughts:
There are 2 things you should know before I start this review.
1) What is Xanadu: It’s a place in inner Mongolia which had the summer palace of Khublai Khan who was the grandson of the greatest ruler of Mongolia, Genghis Khan.
2) Who is Marco Polo: Marco Polo was a traveller and merchant who travelled to China and Mongolia somewhere between 1271 and 1295 alon with his father and Uncle. When he went back to Venice, where he’d come from, he wrote a book about his travels called Travels of Marco Polo. The author relied on this book while writing Daughter of Xanadu.

Lets get to the book now. This book is about a teenage girl called Emmajin who was the grand daughter of Khublai Khan. She was unlike other royal princesses who simply wanted to enjoy the comforts of palace and laze around the whole day and just be content with a life of doing nothing. Our Emmajin wanted to be a warrior, she wanted to fight for the great Khan and return home victorious after defeating the enemies of Mongolia. She wanted to help the Khan achieve the goal of ruling over the entire world. At least that’s what she thought she wanted to do.

Enter young Marco Polo. The Khan was not very sure of the agenda of these European merchants so he assigned Emmajin to befriend them and spy on them. Morco Polo has the exact opposite views than Emmajin. He thinks people should exist in the world peacefully and that all this war and occupying other countries was unnecessary. Of course Emmajin disagreed with him. All she wanted to was fight in a war.

So this is the basic premise. What attracted me to this book in the first place was that it was set in Mongolia. There aren’t many YA books that are set in Mongolia. And also that it was historical fiction.

I thought the first part was slow without much action. The author was basically building up Emmajin’s character and her background. Also, this was the part where Morco Pola nd Emmajin got to know each other and were attracted to each other, at least on a superficial level. The second half is where the action starts, when they travel to these remotest parts of Mongolia and China on a mission. This was my favorite part,the lands they crossed, the people they met, the adventures they had (not spoiling anything here) and how Emmajin and her relationship with Morco Polo changed because of all this.

There is only one thing I disliked in the novel. Emmajin never existed. Morco Polo did not meet anyone in Mongolia and fell in love with, at least none that is documented. I don’t mind introducing new supporting characters and new situations to build a story but I definitely have a problem when 2 of the main characters are fictional (namely Emmajin and her cousin). It kind of negates the whole romance for me.

But overall I really liked the book. I liked reading about Mongolia and their customs. I also liked reading about how it might have been for Morco Polo in ancient times. I loved that I got to learn a bit about history. I definitely recommend reading this book.

Oh and if you like watching videos, do watch my review for the same book below

Massive Book Haul, In my Mailbox/ Monday Mailbox or Library Loot

My First Vlog ever…It’s funny talking to a Camera but it is what it is.

If you want to know the Library books I borrowed, please skip to the 7th Minute.
I’m posting everything together because I’m not sure I’ll have time on Monday and since there wont be any new books in the house until Sunday, it doesn’t matter.

Let me know what you think of it.

SchoolGirl by Osamu Dazai

Title: Schoolgirl
Author: Osamu Dazai (Translated by Allison Markin Powell)
Paperback: 100 pages
Publisher: One Peace Books (October 1, 2011)
Genre: Fiction/ Novella
Source: Review Copy
Set in: Japan
Challenge: East and SouthEast Asia Challenge
Rating: 3 out of 5

My thoughts:
I was very interested in this book because it’s considered a Japanese modern Classic and is written by a very popular Japanese author. Considering how weak my knowledge is in Japanese literature, modern or otherwise, I thought reading this book would give me an insight into the same.

This book could be sensitive, silent, hopeful and depressing all at once. Schoolgirl is a basically a day in life of a schoolgirl on the verge of womanhood. Her mothers indifference following her father’s death leaves a huge void in her life leaving her alone and vulnerable. Beneath all the loneliness she is also very depressed. She is at a stage in her life where her thoughts are full of contradictions. Her view of the world is hopeful and depressing at the same time.

Plot is something that is very important to me in a novel and Schoolgirl definitely doesn’t have one. But my main problem with the book is that I couldn’t relate to the central character which is perhaps no fault of the author or the translator. For someone who doesn’t get depressed ever (touch wood), I didn’t understand how the girls thoughts veered towards depression so often and for no reason. I know there are people who suffer from depression and perhaps it is as unexplained as it is for this girl.

The back of the book says that Osamu Dazai suffered from depression during his lifetime and he died from a suicide attempt after several unsuccessful ones. There must be a few of his thoughts reflected through this young girls vision.

Overall I wasn’t as impressed with this book as so many others have. But I’m glad I read it.