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All the light we cannot see by Anthony Doerr: A book review

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one of those books that takes its time in setting up the premise. And, for that reason, it is slow in the beginning. As we read through, we follow each character's personality and journey during the good times until things slowly take a turn for the worse. This takes up a lot of time during which nothing happens, but we slowly learn what each one is doing and how they go about their daily lives. I think this captures the reality of war so beautifully, where things go bad in phases. For instance, in this story, one family is forced to move from Paris to a small coastal town, Saint Malo, and after this initial upheaval which is difficult, things calm down into a lower but still a fairly uneventful existence, and then, things go bad again. Each event is successively worse, but also allows enough time to settle into the new situation before becoming worse again. And, that is where lies the beauty of this nove…
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Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari -- A book review

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The first three-quarters of this book is brilliant and the last quarter is a drag. It starts off very well, there are a lot of examples and stories about each era. I particularly liked the parts about the agricultural revolution and religion and how human kind thrives and unties through stories which are mostly fictional. But, the last part, where he talks about money and capitalism and market forces is something that I am completely aware of and so this part makes for a very boring read. It therefore took me a lot of time to complete this, but I plodded along hoping that at some point towards the end it would become interesting again, but that didn't happen. The afterword is an introduction to his next book in the series called "Homo Deus". I have begun reading this book as well, but it suffers with the same problems. Starts out very well, but then derails at a certain point and for that …

Happy birthday to me...

It's that time of the year again, bitter-sweet when I'm happy about it being my day and simultaneously rue the fact that I'm a year older. I have a close friend from school who was born just 23 days before me and so on my birthday we both laugh about how we've become a year older and probably none the wiser. It has become a yearly ritual of sorts. But, aside from that, I'm at peace with my life. I don't expect or even wish for a celebration. I'm happy being busy, having a perfectly normal day. 
Of course, it was different when I was a kid. I used to be very excited and looked forward to gifts and new clothes and just general merriment all in "my honor". :P I don't really miss that now. Maybe it's because I've grown up. But, I think some of my family still thinks I miss it and worse, they get sad on my behalf. This is just unnecessary and frankly, a hassle.
Yes, no doubt it's nice when friends or family celebrate your birthday, but…

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami -- A book reiew

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the third "Japanese" or "set in Japan" novel that I've read. And, each one of them have had suicide as one of the running themes in them. I wonder if this is the only issue that modern day Japan is dealing with. And then, I went to Wikipedia, and found out that it is indeed a major concern, although it has reduced since 2013. The beginning of the novel was a difficult read as Murakami takes a really long time in setting up Naoko's problems and what ails her. It is hard to connect with while her's is the main story. But, the mood of story starts looking up once Nagasawa and Midori come in. This definitely is a story you should not pick when you're already depressed, coz it takes a really long time for the central character to come to terms with life and show strength. But strength it does evoke towards the end, the fact that sometimes it is best to keep going and live your daily life a…

Stories of Ganesha: Divinity in Verse: A Personal Interpretation by Rakesh Chaudhary -- A book review

Stories of Ganesha: Divinity in Verse: A Personal Interpretation by Rakesh Chaudhary
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Ganesha stories are told in a very refreshing verse format while never once slowing down the pace of the story. The great thing bout this book is that the tone and the energy of the verse changes according to the scene. The battle scene between Ganesha and Shiva's armies is very vivid, the energy of the battle contrasts so well with the innocence and the sweet smile of the child that is Ganesha. :) The birth and the character of Ganesha is also set up really well, so that you root for the child during the battle. On the whole, I loved it! But, there were a few places which seemed long and overdrawn, such as the last scene in the first story, where Shiva explains to Parvati the reasons for unethically bringing the war to an end and all the virtues of the God Ganesha. I think that is the only part in the book out of all the three stories which I'm not a fan of. Other …

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood -- A book review

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is based on trying to answer a simple question. What would happen if you suddenly overturned every single triumph of the feminist movement and went back a hundred years or a five hundred years. I bought this book based on the recommendation of a youtube channel called "Books on Toast" ( Do subscribe to this channel if you're a book lover by the way!) And, it is definitely a very intriguing read. The story is exactly as described in its synopsis. A world where women are not allowed to read, work or be anything of their choice. A world where they are the properties of powerful men, where they are viewed only as baby making machines and protected only as long as they are fertile.
The premise is definitely interesting. The story is pretty fast paced and keeps you hooked till the end. The scenes and events of the story are told in such a way that you feel wit…

Can you ever question your belief in God?

Your religion is decided for you based on the family you're born into almost immediately after your birth. This is further reinforced during your childhood with the various customs and rituals that you're part of, each one involving prayers to a higher being. Then, it is no surprise that you get brainwashed into believing in God. After all, it is the biggest fantasy or myth that your parents and your community have indulged in and have made you a part of, so much so, that it becomes part of your identity. Later when you experience more of the world, learn more science, see more sense in logic than unfounded beliefs, you start to question the existence of God. You notice how the fallacy of the religious belief begs the question that if God created man, who created God? You probably have already imbibed so much of the belief both consciously and sub-consciously that any loss in this faith comes across to you as a desertion of your own identity. How then can you ever break away …