On Books & Reviews

A book worth experiencing…

Cobalt Blue Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If there is one English word to describe how you feel while reading this book it would be inexplicable.

Cobalt Blue needs to be experienced. It can’t be read, can’t be spoken about. The book blurb mentions that a paying guest becomes a part of the Joshi family and overturns the life of two siblings after he vanishes. It’s more. It takes you on the journey of how one copes with grief. What are the defence mechanisms one uses? How does someone recuperate or not? What pain is? What shock is? What does it feel to be deserted?

These inexplicable emotions that often goes unexpressed have been penned down with immense clarity by Sachin Kundalkar and have been translated with equal brilliance by Jerry Pinto. You feel like the writing has done justice to the emotions on display.

If you are going through a rough patch. Do pick up the book and give it a read. If nothing, it helps you reason with yourself and gives you the support that you are not alone.

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On Books & Reviews

An army-style love story

Combat SkirtsCombat Skirts by Sahana Ahmed

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Being from Calcutta, this book brings a lot of familiar places to mind. A journey of a college student finding love and herself makes for a fun light read.

Saba is an army girl out to carve an identity for herself as she steps away from home to pursue law (or her dreams) in another city. It’s about her finding love and losing it and finding it again in other places. An average life of a college girl well-blended with the topography and history of that period (1998), this book is a good read if you are into romantic fiction.

Way better than what we have around, in either case, the book is a good read.

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The story on Alibaba

Alibaba: The House That Jack Ma BuiltAlibaba: The House That Jack Ma Built by Duncan Clark

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Most people think of Alibaba as a story, It’s not just a story, it’s a strategy.”

Rarely does the last line of a book carry as intriguing a summary as above. Having taken almost two months to complete the book on Alibaba, you don’t fail to miss out on how Jack Ma has evolved the Company from a B2B business to a conglomerate in various sectors with a clear focus.

For any business to be successful in the long-term, and I resonate with this philosophy, he says always put consumers first, people second and profits third . Without consumers you don’t have a business and without having a happy workforce driving that business you can’t have profits.

Here’s a story of a school teacher from a province in Southern China going strength to strength with his single focus on giving the best to his consumers and workforce without really concentrating on profits.

Inspirational, intriguing and detailed, the book gives a detailed account for those interested in understanding what has shaped the new internet economy of China today. Besides talking about Alibaba, it also reflects on the regulatory and competitive environment of the sector.

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From another’s point of view

According to MarkAccording to Mark by Penelope Lively

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I picked this book up a couple of months ago from a British Library clearance sale. It looked like a promising read right from the start. Until the end, you really don’t know what will really happen. Since I just got back from tripping over France it had a special connection.

The story is about a biographer Mark and his journey of gathering facts, lies and silences on his muse. Saying anything more would land up just ruining the book. It has twists and turns while being so straightforward. At the end, you land up empathising, with both Mark and his muse. You understand their actions and why they did act in a certain way.

A good holiday read, According to Mark, can’t be dismissed as frivolous, but a light read for sure.

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An insightful little book on Asgard

Norse MythologyNorse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Being an avid fan of Marvel comics, I thought it would be worthwhile to know the backstories of Thor, Odin, Loki and the rest of Asgard folk. Well, this certainly did come as a surprise.

Thor is not as intelligent as he seems in the Marvel comics and Loki not as bad, just a vindictive little God. Odin has many shades and all not so nice while the rest of the folk are just as arrogant and obnoxious when they chose to be so. The concept of Ragnarok is also interesting and Loki’s involvement in the same. From an outsider’s point of view, his actions do seem justifiable as he reacted like any king or queen would do during that period (influenced by Game of Thrones) just that there are Gods involved here.

All in all, a great read. Fast, pacy, interesting stories with a bit of twist towards the end.

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The Watermelon King – A fun read

The Watermelon KingThe Watermelon King by Daniel Royse

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A light fun read, I loved the way the author introduces his grandfather’s stories within his own travelogue.

Tightly written, you wouldn’t find a single loose word in the book. It covers all aspects of the trip and makes you almost want to take the unconventional route he and his travel partner embark on. But once you finish the book and are back to the reality of basic comforts you tend to decide otherwise.

All in all a great read, filled with humour and travel tales.

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Leaf by Niggle – A must read

Leaf by NiggleLeaf by Niggle by J.R.R. Tolkien

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

If you have read the Lord of The Rings and The Hobbit and think that is Tolkien at his best. Think again.

The simplicity with which this short story is written is just delightful! You wouldn’t know what to take out of this surreal story till you don’t read the Afterword by Tom Shippey where he interprets this story as an allegory as to what was happening in Tolkien’s life with the Middle Earth Saga.

There’s a beautiful line in the story, where two people are talking and one almost feels sorry for the main protaginist– Niggle – mentioning “Oh! poor little Niggle! Never knew he painted.” This one line sums up man’s self doubt, need for recognition and confidence that he is good at what he is does whether it’s distraction or what he does for a living.

Around 64 pages long it’s a perfect metro read. Block yourself from the outside world and enter Tolkien’s Perilous Realm once again.

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