Whenever I am in a reading slump where I don't know what to pick next, I go for my favorites like an Agatha Christie mystery or a book from Diary Of A Wimply Kid series which is like my guilty pleasure with guaranteed laugh-out-loud moments. In this edition, Greg is on a mission to make new friends since his bestie Rowley has ditched him for a girl. It turns out to be quite an ordeal with out of control situations which makes it an enjoyable read, as always! Hard Luck indeed for our poor Greg.
Where'd You Go, Bernadette? by Maria Semple has been on my radar for a long long time. Some simply loved and wouldn't stop gushing about it. Some absolutely hated it. And when I read Haathi time's review back in September, I thought let's give it a try. After finishing the book in just 3 sittings, I see now why the reviews were so polarized. Bernadette is a nutcase (to put it mildly) and her actions can either make you laugh uncontrollably or leave you utterly confused. Personally, I found her hilarious and very entertaining. Do it give it a try. Did you like the book? I would love to know why and if you didn't like, why?
Joy In The Morning (or Jeeves In The Morning) is one of The Guardian's 100 best novels for a very good reason. From the plot to characterization, it feels like an "unfortunate (yet perfect for the readers) concatenation of circumstances" as Bertie said. I read this book on my phone almost everywhere - on my bed, in the loo, in the car, during my lunch time at work and in every public place possible. I was laughing out loud not caring for the awkward stares from the passers by. There are so many good laughs on every page and hilarious circumstances that poor Bertie faces, of course with our Jeeves to his rescue.
Two paragraphs particularly stood out for me and it also shows the sheer brilliance of the author.
"Up in the morning bright and early at his Long Isalnd home. The bath. The eggs. The cereal. The coffee. The drive to station. The 8:15. The New York Times. The arrival at the Pennsylvania terminus. The morning's work. The lunch. The afternoon's work. The 5:50. The drive from the station. The return home. The shower. The change into something loose. The well-earned dinner. The quiet evening. Bed."
I had goosebumps all over as I was reading these lines as this was my daily schedule while working for Sony Music in New York City almost an year ago.
"Well, you prefect chump', cried Nobby, 'don't you know that that dishes him? Haven't you ever read any detective stories? Ask Lord Peter Wimsey what an alibi amounts to.'
'Or Monsieur Poirot', I (Bertie) suggested.
Then again, you also know my love for Agatha Christie's Poirot. I was all smiles and my heart leapt with joy.
If you did not read any Wodehouse novels, then start with Joy In The Morning. You will be pleasantly surprised by a literary mastermind called P.G Wodehouse. Click here to add the book to your Goodreads shelf.
Another book I read for #PartyWithPoirot this week is "The ABC Murders", one of those books I downloaded because of a pretty cover and an unusual name. The story begins with an anonymous letter Poirot receives about an impending murder. Slowly, it becomes a cat-and-mouse game with a psychological analysis of a mad-man and a surprising whodunit twist at the ending. Narrative slows at a few places but all-in-all a good read.
Here is a finished Zentangle art project after a long time - 'The Fish In The Pond'. It took me around 4 days drawing few minutes here & there (while watching TV, drinking tea etc) and the whole effort was so worth it.
Today is World Mental Health Day. And I want to highly recommend Zentangle to everybody out there as it is a deceptively simple way to inner focus and relaxation. Big words, I know but in this day and age of our stressful lives, we need a tool like this. It has helped me a lot and am sure it will bring joy into your lives too. 😊 There are tons of online resources to get you started. Start with simple patterns for just 15 minutes a day.
@maidensofmurder is celebrating 100 years world's favorite detectives and when there is a #PartyWithPoirot, I was sure not to miss it. I picked up "The Mysterious Affair at Styles " out of sheer curiosity on how Agatha Christie introduced this Belgian sleuth to the world. It also gives us a good glimpse on how this quirky partnership between Poirot & Hastings started. A very elaborately staged murder with lots of cues & characters which ends with a court trial and boom! the culprit is out in the open in a classic Christie way.
No matter the age, Enid Blyton's books never get old and are always a pleasure to read. The Second Form at Malory Towers (Malory Towers, #2) chronicles the adventures of Darrell & her friends in their second year at Malory Towers in Cornwall - with new situations to face, new challenges to conquer and new friends/foes to be made in the process. An easy, enjoyable read, as always.
Woohoo! This is the very first time I reached my reading target even before the year ended. Guess my 3-hour commute to work each day is a blessing in disguise after all. Cheers to good books that nourish our soul and make our lives better.
Want Harry Potter action in a Roald Dahl style? Then this book is for you. At nearly 480 pages (for a children's book, I think it is quite long), the plot of the first book in a series of three, The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart could have been summed up in about 250 pages. That said, the writing is great with endearing characters in an interesting setting. And that's what kept me going until the very end. It is a story of four gifted children who are hand-picked via a series of exams and puzzles by Mr. Benedict to defeat an evil mastermind who is all set to spread sorrow and destroy the world. Though the story line drags at some points, overall it is an immersive read and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
With my to-do list overflowing to almost two pages now, it is quite amazing how am able to find these little pockets of time to finish a Zentangle tile. This practice is actually forcing me to stop in my tracks, pause and re-evaluate my priorities. For that, I am really grateful and weekly challenges such as IAST is a good way to keep things fresh & fun. This week, the tangle patterns used are: Flukes, Andante and Cruffle. Can I say, am obsessed about Cruffle. Multiple times during our work meetings, I found myself tangling it my notebook (below picture). So simple yet it looks so intricate. Hope you all have a great weekend ahead.
After almost an year, I have tried my hand at Zentangle again. Thanks to weekly challenges like Adele's It's String Thing, there is no dearth of inspiration and learning new patterns is much more fun & exciting. Here in this illustration I used tangles - Bubbles, Hollibaugh, Ing and a tiny bit of my favorite Flux. You like it?
Ok, I admit. Just like other Agatha Christie mysteries, I couldn't guess the murderer until the very end. But can I express my disappointment to the fact that Miss Marple doesn't enter the scene until last 30 pages of the book; that I would rather call it "A Mr Burton Mystery" on the cover of the book instead of "A Miss Marple Mystery"; that there were instances when the story seems to be stuck in a loop: same village things happening again and again. A slow moving narrative made things even boring. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
'Words', he said, 'is oh such a twitch-tickling problem to me all my life. So you must simply try to be patient and stop squibbling. As I am telling you before, I know exactly what words I am wanting to say, but somehow or other they is always getting squiff-squiddled around.'
'That happens to everyone,' Sophie said.
'Not like it happens to me,' the BFG said. 'I is speaking the most terrible wigglish.'
'I think you speak beautifully,' Sophie said.
'You do?' cried the BFG, suddenly brightening. 'You really do?' 'Simply beautifully,' Sophie repeated.
'Well, that is the nicest present anybody is ever giving me in my whole life!' cried the BFG. 'Are you sure you is not twiddling my leg?'
'Of course not,' Sophie said. 'I just love the way you talk.'
'How wondercrump!' cried the BFG, still beaming. 'How whoopsey-splunkers! How absolutely squiffling! I is all of a stutter.'
The marvelously bright eyed Mr. Wonka; the kind-hearted, poor boy Charlie; the mischievous Oompa-Loompas & their funny songs; an excited Grandpa Joe and a bunch of not-so well mannered kids - these are the central characters Roald Dahl creates in his read-out-loud timeless classic "Charlie and The Chocolate Factory". Also thrown in loads and loads of mouthwatering references to various kinds of candy. If only I had a chance to win a Golden Ticket myself to pay one visit to the amazing chocolate factory. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
As a humongous fan of Agatha Christie & her mysteries, this graphic novel biography about her adventurous life was a sheer delight to read. Written by Anne Martinetti, Guillaume Lebeau and beautifully illustrated by Alexandre Franc, the book was quick and super fun. I would be lying if I didn't say that I had goosebumps all over as I flipped to the first page, which starts with the incident of Ms. Christie's mysterious disappearance for a week or so and no-one knows why & how. There were numerous references to her books, how she got the plot ideas and what I loved the most were those cheeky, fictional conversations she has with Poirot! All you Christie fans out there, don't miss this. Love!. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
It was so much fun reading these classic books again by Roald Dahl. How can you not fall in love with Mathilda and James, two innocent children living in difficult situations and the epic journeys they take to find happiness. ️It has rekindled many childhood memories and I can't wait to get started on couple of more books I got for this week on Roald Dahl. Wohoo! Click here to add Matilda and James and the Giant Peach to your Goodreads shelves.
All my life, I have been an on-demand morning person. I can sleep like a baby until 9 am and wake up bright-eyed early in the morning, both with the same gusto. Since past year, am making a concerted effort to sleep/wake up on time and to make my mornings more productive. It was as though Universe was telling me it is time to pick a side and make amends. During that process I stumbled upon this book called The Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod. It is a quick read and introduces a easy to follow concept called S.A.V.E.R.S - Silence, Affirmations, Visualization, Exercise, Read and Scribble. Those who already read other self help books might not find any aha-moments but for others, who are looking for a cheat sheet to change their morning routines, this is THE book. Personally, I am yet to practice the strategies myself and I intend to do so in coming weeks. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
The Thirteen Problems (Miss Marple, #2)
: This is a superb collection of 13 short stories, woven together as a guessing game of "Who committed the crime?". These incidents happened in the narrator's past and only she/he know the real answer (culprit). It is our Miss Marple who solves them all and in quite interesting ways by drawing village parallels and using her own unique perspective of everyday life. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
The Labors of Hercules (Hercule Poirot, #26): Only Agatha Christie is capable of doing such a clever feat - give the ancient 12 Labours of Hercules a modern twist in the form of murder mysteries that our now hero, Hercule Poirot have to solve. Most of stories are ingenious and few are ok. An engaging read. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (Hercule Poirot, #22): Honestly, this story line is the most difficult and convoluted of all Agatha Christie books I read so far. The premise is to solve the murder of a harmless dentist Mr. Morley. It takes a while for the reader to figure out who is who. There many characters and its slow pace can be a bit downer. That said, I immensely enjoyed the last few pages when it finally strikes our Poirot who did it all and why. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
Fool Me Once is my first Harlan Coben novel and what a fantastic page turner it turned out to be. The twists & turns; what to believe; what not to believe; who is the culprit; who is the victim: we keep guessing until the very end. Isn't that the hallmark of a great thriller? Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
I have to confess given a choice, I would read Hercule Poirot over Miss Marple. Poirot investigates a case with logic, reasoning and in general there is a lot more action in his stories. That being said, The Body In The Library (Miss Marple # 3) is the best Marple book I read so far. The characters are well sketched out with lively dialogues and an ingenious plot twist. A shout-out to @maidensofmurder for the recommendation. A TV version of this book with Geraldine McEwan as Miss Marple is available on Youtube and my weekend plan is to watch the story come alive on the big screen. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
It has been ages since I read a graphic novel. Thoroughly intrigued when this book showed on my Goodreads feed, I picked it up from San Francisco Public Library the very same day and finished in two sittings. The story is about Katie, a former head chef and the basic premise is as simple as - (1) Write Your Mistake (2) Ingest One Mushroom (3) Go To Sleep (4) Wake Anew. Bryan Lee O'Malley does a fantastic job of illustrating Katie's existential struggles on how she tries to find a quick fix for all her problems and the consequences she faces when things go awry. Must Read. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
Most of us know about Game Of Thrones by now but very few must have heard about the endearing tales of a knight called Ser Duncan the Tall, his unlikely squire Egg and their journey across the Seven Kingdoms. George R.R. Martin originally published these short stories in 1998 and all three of them are now assembled in one volume - 'A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms'. With the next book - 'The Winds of Winter' (A Song of Ice and Fire series) nowhere in sight, it was a real treat for an ardent GoT fan like me to explore the world of Westeros once again. Beautifully illustrated by Gary Gianni, I simply lovvved this book. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
Not a New Fact: few minutes of motivational reading especially in the morning is one of the many ways to start the day right. I have read about the benefits, but never actually tried it. Since past a month or so, am making a habit to read at least couple of pages of a good book before I step out of the door to handle the day's highs and lows. Talking of morning reads, The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy (former editor of SUCCESS magazine) perfectly fits in that category. The content is not only motivational but has small, effective actionable steps which work their magic over time. For Example: I have been maintaining a Weekly Rhythm Tracker for the tasks I want to accomplish, awarding points each day and rewarding with cash by end of the week. It has now become like a fun game I play with myself. So far, I earned 55$ of cold cash ready to be splurged of anything I want, guilt-free. Again, as Darren Hardy said, Compound Effect is always working. For good or bad, with or without acknowledging. It is up to us to steer the energy in the right direction by making good choices. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
Ok. True Story: I downloaded this book as a morning read. Something that will help me start the day right. Look at the title - 'Year Of Yes'. Doesn't it sound like an inspirational read to you guys? One chapter everyday and chew over the message conveyed. That was my plan. What happened instead was I couldn't stop with one chapter, read whenever I can; where ever I can, laughed so hard in public places where people gave me stares and in spite of a crazy 10-hr work day week, I finished the book in three days. I should have expected this. C'mon it is Shonda Rhimes we are talking about and whatever she does is just brilliant. The narrative of this book is so casual that I felt she was actually talking to me. I read some other reviews and not everybody liked the tone & tenor. I liked it. The book is about how she tackles her biggest fears head-on.
P.S - I used to be a huge Grey's Anatomy and Scandal fan but not anymore. I still love Shonda and the show she produces - How to Get Away With Murder. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
Since 2014 when one of my friends introduced me to @crazyjewishmom Instagram account, I have to say, I was hooked. "Mother Can You Not" is a memoir of sorts filled with real incidents happened between the author and her mom, who by the way in 1990's was a successful Hollywood director. With many funny, cringe-worthy, laugh-out-loud and heart warming moments (all at the same time!), it was an easy, breezy read. By the end, my own nervy mother seemed like a saint (read as Mother Theresa) when compared to Kim. LOL! Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
Year 2016, I decided will be an year dedicated to my beloved character - 'Jeeves'. I will be making a sincere attempt to read as many books (if not ALL) I can from the Jeeves series. My Man Jeeves is the first one and is a collection of eight stories: four of them feature Bertie + Jeeves and other four are based on Reggie Pepper, an earlier version of Bertie (I think!). Story plots are ok with very few laughs here & there and am just hoping it would get better as I pick the next book - The Inimitable Jeeves. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
Three days ago, while casually browsing my IG feed I got to know about @simondavidthomas 's #1938club via my friend Arpita's @bagfullofbooks post. The concept is quite simple - choose a book published in the year 1938 and read/review it during the week of April 11th. I took a detour from what I was reading and quite hurriedly made a small list of short books of 1938 (as I had only couple of days to finish) and went to San Francisco Library to see what's readily available for check out. 'Appointment With Death' by Agatha Christie, one of her lesser known works was the only choice. Now that am done with it, here is what I think about the plot. The story is about the dysfunctional Boynton family and a motley of other guests who come to Jerusalem as tourists. The head of the family, the vicious Mrs. Boynton dies in suspicious circumstances and Poirot resolves to find the killer in 24 hrs. Being an ardent Hercule Poirot fan, I was a little disappointed that his character comes into action only after half way through the book in Part II. Part I is a build up for the crime to happen. An OK read when compared to other Agatha Christie books.
Very Good Lives by J K Rowling is a book I picked up on a whim, out of sheer curiosity. It is essentially her 2008 Harvard Commencement speech with pretty illustrations. She shares her hardships growing up, talks about embracing failure and importance of imagination. The content may not be necessarily life-changing but certainly feels like a funny yet inspiring pep talk. Read the book or watch the commencement speech video available free online. The proceeds of the book sales go to JK's Lumos charity, a non-profit international organization which works to end the institutionalization of children around the world. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
In the current state of mind where am stretched for time and finding a balance between work, life and hobbies is a constant struggle, this short book offers thought provoking insights and tools to put things in perspective. Manage your Day to Day by 99u is essentially a collection of articles from some of my favorite authors like Gretchen Rubin, Seth Godin, Scott Belsky and many others. Divided into four sections - 'Building A Rock-Solid Routine', 'Finding Focus In A Distracted World', 'Taming Your Tools' and 'Sharpening Your Creative Mind' with a bunch of motivational quotes thrown in, the book is a quick read. But the insights are only useful if they are put into practice. Right? ..and that is what am planning to do in coming times. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
One Papa Poirot story a day, keeps the gloom of the day away. Don't you all agree? 'Poirot Investigates' is an anthology of 14 cases of the famous Hercule Poirot. Most of them are really good in true Agatha Christie style. Some are ok. If you trying to get out of a reading slump or looking for a quick read or an ardent Poirot fan like me, this book is for you. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
I am a huge fan of books based on Egyptian mythology and thanks to Madeline Miller's The Song Of Achilles, I am sucked into Greek mythology as well. Patroclus, the trusted companion (and lover) of Achilles narrates the story and through his eyes the demi-god-hero seems so humane with a warm heart. I would also highly recommend the audio book narrated by Frazer Douglas. His voice as Patroclus is beyond beautiful. It is amazing how he oscillates and modulates his speech between various characters and artfully brings them to life. Read or Listen but do not miss out on this captivating re-take on Homer's Illiad. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.
Gentle Reader, attempting to not just read but thoroughly enjoy a few classics from Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read has been my dream for 2016 and so happy that the first pick - "Jane Eyre" turned out to be a spectacular choice. Why did I wait so long to read this book? Nobody knows. But it is better late than never. Isn't it? Many view it as a romantic story. But for me, it was much more that that. So many emotions washed through my mind while I read and as the story progressed, Jane became more dear to me than ever. Jane with her defiance to give up on life and her independence as a strong woman truly satiated the feminist in me. Words can't express how much I fell in love with this book but here is an attempt - mind blowing, beautiful, favorite-for-a-long-time-to-come, breath taking and is a classic for a very good reason. Click here to add the book to your goodreads shelf.
Imagine pursuing a decade-long quest to visit all 193 countries in the world before his 35th birthday?. How about walking on foot across America or cooking a dish from every known cuisine of the world? All along, I wondered what does it feel like to have that passion and drive to take up such a challenge voluntarily? Is there more to Life than a mere 9 to 5 job? Yes. absolutely! In his book "The Happiness Pursuit", Chris Guillebeau shares many such incredible stories of extraordinary people who went on their quests. It is truly an inspiring and thought-provoking read. Whether you have a quest on your mind or not, the book is guaranteed to touch a chord and who knows, some like me may finally take baby steps towards the project they always wanted to do. Click here to add the book to goodreads shelf.
It is a need of the hour. I was lagging behind in my 2016 reading challenge and was in search of books that were under 200 pages - short yet impactful. That was when I stumbled upon "Tuesdays with Morrie" by Mitch Albom. The tagline says it all: "An Old Man, a Young Man, and Life's Greatest Lesson." It is a true story of a dying college professor Morrie Schwartz who meets his former student Mitch Albom every Tuesday where they talk about Life, Love and many other aspects that we tend to overlook, take them for granted. If you are like me, you will find a quiet spot of your home and read the last pages in absolute silence with tears in eyes. Because by the end, Morrie becomes your mentor and as chapters go by, it feels like he is talking to you too, not just Mitch. I am ending this Tuesday thinking about Morrie and his wise words. Click here to add it to your goodreads shelf.
Book 2/30 | I picked up this book just for my curiosity and it turned out to be such a funny, easy read. There are times you would wonder about the bizarre things customers ask and truly I have a new found respect for booksellers now. Here's one of the many hilarious conversations from the book:
Customer: Do you have any books containing passages which would be suitable to read out at a funeral? Bookseller: Sure, I'll help you look. Customer: Thanks. Bookseller: And I'm sorry for your loss. Customer: Oh, don't worry about it; it's just my daughter's guinea pig.
Book 1/30 | Big Magic is a book for those who want to lead a creative life. As simple as that. Anyone who are in need of that much needed nudge, encouragement, permission or inspiration - whatever you call to ultimately do what they want to do. Read a little everyday and it is much easier to appreciate Liz's new perspective. There were so many beautiful sentences in the book that I had to note them down in my journal, to explore my own creative self and in turn have the courage to embrace both my curiosities and fears in equal measure. Click here to add this book to your Goodreads shelf.