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New Year, New Plans

It is a brand new day in the new year and I kick start my 2018 blogging adventures with a new approach. As many of you know, at the very beginning of every month, I write the very first post of that month, detailing what books I am planning to read for the same month. However, this year, I have decided to change my game plan a bit. Again as many of you are aware, I have been superlatively busy for the last one year, and while the forecast this year does not look so bleak or bad, I am hesitant to say anything, knowing life springs quite a few unexpected and not always pleasant surprise as we go along! As a result, frequently I have not been able to stick to my reading plans. If I complete Book 1 then I am unable to move to Book 2 because work got crazy or something else needed attention and I finally read something completely outside the map! Thus, in change of approach and piggy backing on the posts that I see Helen does, I have instead decided to do a month end review of the books I read for the month. That way, I have pretty much a free will that can operate on the choice of the books I read instead of scrambling to keep pace. Furthermore, it allows me a more comprehensive review of the kinds of books I have actually read for the month versus what I had planned and allows me to make more informed choices when I do the next set of book picking!

This idea also works well as this year, I am not doing ANY Reading Challenges, except TBR Pile Challenge to help clear off books awaiting in my Kindle as well once on my bed side table, and writing desk and on the floor and …er….pretty much all around the house! I do want to read a bit more History and Ancient Literature, including Sanskrit, Greek and Roman Literature, and I will be a bit more aware of these genres when I make my choices, but, I cannot make promises so I do nothing, but say, I will try! Furthermore, I am quite sure, as the year trundles along, I will find books that others are planning to read, especially Cleo and hop on with them! Therefore, without having the particulars, I have perimeter in which I will play this year!

So that’s that! January is here and there is much to be done and accomplished and as we get back to our busy lives, I leave you with some humor, to get through the first days of the year with some fun –

 

A Very Special Date

Raahrarraaahhhh!!! Tara Dum! Tara Dee!!! Roll the drums and bring on the fanfare, for today, ahem! ahem! we celebrate the 5th Anniversary of Mockingbirds, Looking Glasses and Prejudices!!! (Virtual confetti being showered!!!) Yay!!Its the big 5 blogaversary!

It’s been 5 years since I started this blog after being rather disgusted over a over-hyped thing I saw at the mall on Valentine’s Day. As most know, 5 years down the line, my thoughts have not changed much as was evident from my last post. Oh! Well…everything changes and nothing does. But not really!

Over the last 5 years I have gained so much that I could scarcely believe was possible when I started out that February morning of 2012! I have written more blogs not only for myself but also for many other sites. I have felt myself improve as a writer and in the process become a more evolved individual. I have a read more books and ventured into literary spheres which I would have scarcely ventured into had it not been for all of you opening up the erudite vistas for me. I have read such a variety of non fiction, classics and poetry than I would have thought possible in February 2012, forcing me out of my comfort zone and making me look at the world at large in whole different perspective! I have read Metamorphosis by Ovid and Bewoulf because of Cleo. I have read science fiction because of Stefanie and found innumerable lost authors, thanks to Jane who has a knack for finding these authors. There are sooooo many others who have made me read so many different things! You all have helped me not only read more but also do things that I would have not thought possible from participating in marathons to cooking yumilious carrot ginger soup!! You have made me grow in all possible ways! Most importantly, I have made some awesome friends – friends I have not met, but who have stood by me through thick and thin, through deaths and dumpings and cheered me on when I was promoted or took one an adventurous road trip. Through 1000 miles of geography and cultures that separate us, they came together as a bunch of kindred souls while helping me navigate through the choppy waters of life! Finally my readers, thank you for sticking around and reading my blah-blah. I am sure you do not always like what I write and may often be bored, but thank you for sticking around and reading anyways!

Since I was/am feeling all sentimental anyway, I thought I will complete the trip to the very end and feel nostalgic as well. Therefore I went back and read some of my older posts and thought I will share some of them with you, especially the ones which most seemed to have enjoyed and were also kind of personal blogging milestones –

  1. Satire be my song….List of 10 best satires from all time – February 19th 2012 – One of my very fast posts, about things which I liked the best – books!
  2. Love and Mutiny in the Time of British Raj – July 1 2012 – I begin to get into the groove of book reviews.
  3. The Year Through Posts -December 7th 2014 – Inspired by Jane, this seemed a perfect way to wrap the year!
  4. Defining Style – An Alternative Perspective – February 17 2015 – Where I venture out of bookish blogs and start posting for other sites!
  5. Celebrating Freedom – The Home and The World Read Along – July 19th 2016 – I host my very first Read Along!

It’s been such wonderful 5 years of learning, fun and cherished memories! Thank you for being part of this wandering with me and for enriching my life with your ideas, enthusiasm and thoughts!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twenty and Some More….

I was planning to review Beowulf Read Along hosted by Cleo. But then I came across the Twenty Bookish Questions post by Corinne and my plans took a turn. It’s has been a stressful week. I had to deal with a lot of Six Sigma kinda of stuff for the interview which I had mentioned in one my previous posts. Therefore, this seemed like a fun – stressbuster thing to do before I plunged into my usual book reviews. (I promise Cleo to review Beowulf next for sure)

Therefore without much further ado, I plunge in –

  1. Favorite childhood book

It’s a toss-up between Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A.Milne and very little known outside of East India, a collection of folk tales that have delighted generation of readers from my grandmother, to my mum and to me; it’s called Thakurmar Jhuli literary meaning Grandmother’s tales and its was compiled by Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumdar

  1. What are you reading right now?

A Time of Gifts Sir Patrick Leigh Fermor, Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell and The Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton

  1. What books do you have on request at the library?

Out of Africa by Karen Blixen and Black Lamb and Grey Falcon: A Journey Through Yugoslavia by Dame Rebecca West

  1. Bad book habit

I get distracted by too many books. I may be in the middle of 4 books and suddenly a review will make me put them on hold while I plough through the 5th book.

  1. What do you currently have checked out at the library?

Nothing. I have bought way too many books recently!

  1. Do you have an e-reader?

Sigh! Yes! Kindle! (Surprise! Surprise!)

  1. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?

Not too long ago, I used to read one book at time, now I read several together. For reasons why, please see the next answer!

  1. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?

Absolutely. To begin with I have started reading several books at the same time because. I see so many good books out there and the TBR is never going to see an end. I have also started reading many things outside my comfort zone basis recommendations and suggestions by fellow bloggers – books that I would have never read earlier!

  1. Least favorite book you’ve read this year

I stem the tide of unpopularity again and state once more – The Awakening by Kate Chopin

  1. Favorite book you’ve read this year:

Too many to list – but competing for top position are The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, Howard’s End by EM Foster

  1. How often do you read outside of your comfort zone?

More lately than I had before; again this is change that has come about since I started blogging as I come across more and more books which while completely outside of what genres I read, are so very wonderful

  1. What is your reading comfort zone?

Classics, especially Regency/Victorian era classics, Historical Fiction, War books

  1. Can you read on the bus?

Yes! Have been doing that since as a kid used to take bus to school and used the half an hour ride to read more – naturally not school books!

  1. Favorite place to read:

My bed! Its huge and comfortable!

  1. What is your policy on book lending?

I am not lending because no one GIVES it back, especially non reader variety!

  1. Do you dog-ear your books?

I used to until I moved in with my flatmate, who insists that books should be kept in pristine condition!

  1. Do you write notes on the margins of your books?

Not in the books, because I like my books to look shiny and new, but I do have book diary that is constantly paired off with whatever book I am reading!

  1. Do you break/crack the spines?

Yes…especially those I read again and again!

  1. What is your favorite language to read?

English and Bengali

  1. What makes you love a book?

So many things – history, plot, the characters, the language, the truth of lives that the author may bring out!

  1. What will inspire you to recommend a book?

That I like the book!

  1. Favorite genre:

Historical Fiction

  1. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did):

Science – Thanks to Stefanie, I am venturing into reading more science books, but I have a long way to go!

  1. Favorite biography:

Jane Austen: A Life by Claire Tomlin

  1. Have you read a self-help book (and was it helpful)?

Several, especially Management self-help books and forgotten them all!

  1. Favorite cook book:

None…me is the Masterchef of my kitchen!

  1. The most inspirational book you’ve read this year:

Well it is June, so technically any book between June last year to date – in which no surprise, one book that teaches me and inspires me every time I read it – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee; re-read November 2014

  1. Favorite reading snack:

Sandwich, chocolates, instant noodles, fruits, water, wine…give it all!!!

  1. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience

Time for more brickbats – Madame Bovary by Gustav Flaubert!! Shudder!!

  1. How often do you agree with the critics about a book?

Most often and then there are DIFFERENCES and the twain shall never meet!

  1. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?

Not good; because I am at the end of the day negating someone’s hard work! I try not to be completely negative, until the book just sucked off my patience!

  1. If you could read in a foreign language, which would it be?

Russian – to read War and Peace in original!

  1. Most intimidating book I’ve ever read

I thought it was intimidating, but thanks to Cleo, I really enjoyed it – Beowulf

  1. Most intimidating book I’m too nervous to begin

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf

  1. Favorite Poet

Robert Browning and Christina Rossetti

  1. How many books do you generally have checked out of the library at a given time?

4 or 5 unless I have bought a stack of books

  1. How often do you return books to the library unread?

Many times – too many to count!

  1. Favorite fictional character

I cannot stop at one, you should thank your stars I am stopping at 3 only – Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird, Ashton Pelham Martin from The Far Pavillions and more recently Margaret Schlegel from Howards End

  1. Favorite fictional villain:

Cathy Ames from East of Eden and Napoleon from Animal Farm

  1. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, Xanadu by William Darlymple and anything else that I might fancy at that point in time!

  1. The longest I’ve gone without reading

Never – can’t remember a time when I did not read or was not read to!!!

  1. What distracts you easily when you’re reading

When people show up at my apartment without prior intimation and expect me to play the gracious hostess, especially on a Sunday night when I am rushing madly through a books before Monday start…aaaarrrggggghhhhh!!!

  1. Name a book you could not finish

Way too many to name!!

  1. Favorite film adaption of a novel

Mini Series – The 1995 BCC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Jennifer Elhe and Colin Firth

  1. The most disappointing film adaptation

Harry Potters adaptations since The Goblet of Fire

  1. Most money I’ve ever spent in a bookstore at one time

Don’t even get me started!

  1. How often do you skim a book before reading it?

A bit, to get a flavor and if it tallies with blurb in the back!

  1. What would cause you to stop reading a book halfway through it?

Bad plots, inaccurate history, nonsensical characters especially the dew eyed butter melts in her mouth heroine types,

  1. Do you like to keep your books organized?

Like to – Yes; Do I – No!

  1. Do you prefer to keep your books when done, or give them away?

Always keep them – each book is a part of me and it’s a personal belonging and CANNOT be given away

  1. Are there any books that you’ve been avoiding

To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf and A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess

  1. Name a book that made you angry

So many …let it be for now

  1. A book I didn’t expect to like but did

The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald

  1. A book I expected to like but didn’t

Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse – muddled Indian spirituality at its worst!

  1. Favorite guilt-free guilty-pleasure reading

1857 Indian Mutiny and World War books

Odds and Ends!

I was seriously not planning to blog today; I am in-between books and nothing exciting had happened that needed to be declared! Well, that’s when I came across these two nuggets and I knew that not sharing these with my book obsessed fellow bloggers would be a cardinal sin –

The first is a children’s poem by David McCord called Books fall Open and I thought it applied well to us adults as well – here goes:

Books fall open, you fall in, 

delighted where you’ve never been; 

hear voices not once heard before, 

reach world on world through door on door; 

find unexpected keys to things locked up beyond imaginings.

What might you be, perhaps become,because one book is somewhere? 

Some wise delver into wisdom, wit,  and wherewithal has written it. 

True books will venture, dare you out, 

whisper secrets, maybe shout  across the gloom to you in need, 

who hanker for a book to read.

Sigh! The absolute and unadulterated joy of reading!

Then came this one and I have to admit to most, especially #1, #3, #6, #10,#15 (Big Sigh! Lost count of how many times I have done this!) #16 (My work place is FULL of these moments!) and Naturally #17!

17 Problems Only Book Lovers Will Understand

That’s all I have for today! Happy Reading!

The Year through Posts…

I was planning to do a woohoo December favorite thing post, reminiscent of what I wrote in October and promised to repeat in December to celebrate winter! But I just saw Jane’s post and I remember doing this last year as well and it brought on such fond memories that I hold on to the December Favorite post for tomorrow and share with you all look at 2014 through my blogs.

Originally started by The Indextrious Reader, it’s a wonderful game of sorts, where we do the following “Take the first line of each month’s post over the past year and see what it tells you about your blogging year”

Without more ado, here goes the rundown of my year through my posts –

January – Ring in the New…

It’s the 1st of January and a brand new day of a brand new year… Like every year, this day today holds out so much promise of life and all that we wish to seek

February – Random Notes on Illness, Books and Love…

I have been so ill…for the last two weeks I have been confined to my bed with multiple disorders including a low blood cell count that has led to such weakness that standing on one’s own two feet for more than a minute is risky (On account my loosing balance and falling) I have not been this ill, ever in my adult life – never been this sick to be unable to stand, write or even read.

March – All The Grand Ladies…Please Stand Up!

I know March is the month of well…so many things (Remember Ides of March!!).

April – On Becoming a Brook…

I know I have taken another one of my hiatus from blogosphere, but that can be completely attributed to my illness which kind of took a turn for worse this one month and threw all my grand plans and projects in a tail spin.

May – At The Very Source…

The Sourceby James Michener is one of my all-time favorites; it’s a book I go back to after years and years and it embraces me like an old friend who still has more tales to tell, despite my having visited it many times previously!

June – Book Reading in June and Other Bookish Musings

June is here and the heat will not go away….not in the near future!! Oh! How I hate summers!!

July – All About Gs

I know I have stated this many a times, but one of my biggest inspirations for blogging and reading is Stephanie.

August – Finally Something Lovely…..

It’s been a tiresome troublesome two weeks – I have besieged with challenges, both tangential and non-tangential – Just after my laptop was fixed and I could resume my normal blogging activities, WordPress for some reason decided to send all comments I made to the SPAM folder!!

September – A Sonnet

I realize that I have been away from blogging for nearly a month and this has truly been my longest hiatus from the blogosphere since I started this blog more than 2 years ago…but life took a really crazy and unexpected turn since Aug 17th 2014 when I posted my last blog and I am still trying to come to terms with it.

October – A Knightly Tale

I finally finished reading “Katherine” by Anya Seton as part of the Classic Club Spin #7.

November – Once Upon A Time, let Ms. Gaskell lead you on further….

On this night after Halloween, it makes sense that I close my RIP IX readings with Elizabeth Gaskell’s “Gothic Tales” (Yeah!! I know I am day late, but with everyone going crazy with the “Halloween rage” thingy, it’s good that I did not pile on to already overcrowded bandwagon of Halloween celebrations).

December – Reading England

Here I was, sitting happily with all my November planned reading done and feeling smug on how well I cope with Reading Challenges and my TBR when God did an LOL and I read Jane’s post and I knew…well, I knew I would be a part of it, even before I read the details.

It’s been some year with all kinds of highs and lows, perhaps a few more lows than usual! However I have read some great stuff this year and I am truly fortunate to have some many friends who inspire me to read more, do more and lead a good life including everyone in my blogosphere!! And yes! I really write loooooonnnngggg sentences and use way to many exclamation marks!!!!!! Interestingly, I had the same observation about my sentence construction last year as well but some things just never change…See what I mean…

Finally Something Lovely…..

It’s been a tiresome troublesome two weeks – I have besieged with challenges, both tangential and non-tangential – Just after my laptop was fixed and I could resume my normal blogging activities, WordPress for some reason decided to send all comments I made to the SPAM folder!! My phone after being fixed went caput again and just when my phone goes on a blinker the entire world has to call me!!!!But my phone could not go caput before I had a rather “distressing” conversation with one of my lesser liked aunts!!! I listened to a long and extremely offending lecture on my life style including what she deemed as important matters of life to which apparently I had an “immature” approach!!! AGRH!!!!! I am so glad I live 2300 kms from her and more of her kind!! Whoever said family is important never met my extended maternal family!! All of this followed by two instances of working for 24 hrs straight…I had heard of working for 24 hrs, and I have done 18 hrs but working for straight 24 hrs not once but twice in one week was just something else….needless to say, it’s not been very good lately!!

Anyway the only bright spot and this one is a considerably big bright spot, in fact it was so bright that I deem it as a bright sun, was to be nominated for a One Lovely Blog Award/Very Inspiring Blogger. While the honor is great and I am absolutely thrilled about it, what makes it even more special was that this came from Stephanie – a person I admire, whose tastes I have the firmest reliance one, whose opinions are always sensitive, a person who inspires me every day to read more, especially things I would have never explored and whose blogging discipline makes me write a post diligently and keep at it!! An awesome person, a wonderful friend and a great mentor all rolled into one!! What could be more joyous than to be recognized by somebody you look up to – there cannot be a greater accolade than this!!

Per the rules, I have to share with the greater world 7 facts about me and nominate 15 other bloggers –

About the 7 facts –

  1. I am extremely short-tempered and I have a TEMPER!! Over the years I have learnt and tried to control it, but there is no getting away that I have a short fuse and it takes very little to light the mental dynamite.
  2. I am FOODIE!!! I mean it…I love food!! The first thing I think off when I wake up is what will I have for breakfast??? Last thought before my close is where we can have dinner tomorrow. I love cooking and besides reading and writing, that is one activity, I spend a lot of time on!!
  3. I am a perfectionist – ask my team at work!!! Even the smallest mistake are highlighted and sent back with a not so nice email. For all my bouncy, optimistic, cheery personality, I am perfectionist and a hard, very hard task master…I drive myself over the edge and so does my team. I am very blessed to have a team which takes all my “perfection driven” idiosyncrasies with good humor and I am truly truly proud to lead them. But they do have to put up with comments like “the right hand margin of the slide 2 of the PPT is 1/4th inch less than the left hand margin”!!
  4. My first true love was when as 7 year olds, my best friend and I discovered a movie released nearly 5 years earlier, called “Top Gun”…No I did not fall in love with Tom Cruise, though my best friend did…instead I lost my heart and never quite gained it back to Val Kilmer . (I know he looks like a whale these days, but true love is beyond the obvious and such shallow things like good looks – though at the age of 7 I doubt I thought in such depths!! But I still hold a candle for that man!!!)
  5. I love and need my morning tea….nothing and no one comes in-between that…otherwise I am one grumpy creature. My other favorite drink is water and I consumer at least 6 liters a day – it’s never a task as I am always thirsty and I always have a bottle of water around me. I also LOVE white wines!!
  6. I am not particularly a movie person. I do watch an odd film now and then, but for me movie watching has to be an event – I do not go to the theater every week (more like once in 5 months) and I consider it a waste of time. However I do get bitten by a bug now and then and I watch back to backs non-stop for days on end, maybe because I like the time period the film was set in (I saw Band of Brothers 7 times, all 10 episodes) or the actor (like when I do my Val Kilmer fests) or country (recently went through Spanish film thingy!!)
  7. I love dancing – I went to a dancing school for more than 14 years and till date love to dance around my house. For some reason or the other, I have developed a strong disinclination for dancing in parties/clubs etc…cannot seem to quite enjoy that!!

Okay!! Glad that the 7 things are over…now for the 15 nominations –

Fleur in her World : Jane is my biggest bookish/bloggish inspiration along with Stephanie. Her reads are always wide ranged and her reviews succinct. I have never gone wrong with her recommendations and she is one of those very few people who have managed to introduce some great authors in my repertoire. If she has liked the book, rest assured, it will go in my TBD. Briar’s posts are absolutely marvelous and comes as an added plus when visiting her blog!!

Eggton : is another of my favorites. Katherine is not only an ex-New York mover shaker lawyer turned cook, but she is also someone with a wonderful sense of humor and with funniest laugh out loud takes on life. You read her blog, when you are down, and I guarantee 100% upliftment of spirits!! The fact that she always posts some awesome recipes that completely blows away the foodie in me, just adds to the brilliance of her posts!!

Flowers and Breezes – Sheen Mam’s take on life, her simple observations that bring home the truths which we forget in our daily lives and her generous nature makes her writing a refreshing read. If you had a bad day, read her posts, before you call it night, they act as a soothing, peaceful and comforting salve to your cumbersome challenging day.

Women, Words, and Wisdom -Dr. Joan Bouza Koster is a scholar, feminist, humanist, historian, author and a connoisseur par excellence of great literature. Her blog brings together all these items and more. Her posts deal with well researched nuggets from women writers from the past, on subjects as wide-ranging as daily working conditions, to memories of childhood to writing etc.

CogitoFilm – I don’t like films too much, but this blog has awesome reviews on both Hollywood and Bollywood film with some really clever observations and wonderful imagery of descriptions.

jaynesbooks : If you love books, you HAVE to love this blog. Her reviews are clever and absolutely in your face. I love her like it-do not like it approach and I tend to find myself almost always in alignment with her thoughts!! Her Top Tens are a treat!!

Brona’s Books : If anyone, anywhere loved books, then Brona is their ideal. Like me she reads practically everything, like me she has an opinion and unlike me her opinions are always well-informed, judicious and sensitive. If she likes an author, I will like it!! Her readings have opened me up to a whole range of authors and I love the bantering we share on every book we read via the Classics Club

The Odd Pantry – humor and good food and some wonderful insights; what more could one ask. Her recipes are as creative as it can get and her musings on life mostly hilarious, but at times extremely thought-provoking.

A Great Book Study : Ruth is again I met someone via the Classic Club. Though she claims that she is no expert and her posts are really her first cut take on classics, her writings and opinions always brings out nuances of books which I have read and though understood completely and her review is always considered and subtle

Breadcrumb Read – Risa has a post graduate degree in English literature and one quick review of her blog will convince you that her education is well utilized every day and though she does not accept awards for her blog, I am nominating her because I want more people to enjoy what I really really enjoy – her bookish talks, her love for classics and all her bookish adventures!!

Biblioglobal : I have only just started following her blog and I lament that I lost out on so much for so long. Reading one book about one country across our globe, she has in a very short span of time really broadened my understanding of literature. She also does some amazing and quirky research that gives you a lot of insight into reading and books related demographics around the world.

A Striped Armchair – Though she replaced her armchair with a lovely couch, her blogs keep up the standards of great review and a thorough and uniform understanding of the context of the book. She is one of the few fellow readers who reads loads of stuff about international relations, ethnicity, religion and identity that is outside of academic requirements.

12 Novels – 12 novels in 12 months, actually 13 novels in 12 months. What could be more inspirational than a struggling writer than to be motivated by this one diligent, fun and honest writer who takes on a new challenge every month, with no other expectation than becoming better in her craft!

A year of reading the world – Similar to Biblioglobal, Ann, a blogger based in London decided when 2012 Olympics came visiting her city, she would celebrate the occasion by reading literature from the 196 nations participating at the games. While Olympics has come and gone, she is still reading some great stuff and writing about them.

Mister G’s Kids – Hilarious, funny and a great take on teaching today filled with irony and rib-tickling laughter and all the highs and lows of being a teacher!!

It’s up to you if you choose to carry this award further, but thank you all for sharing your lives and interests with me and for picking me (virtually!!) especially when the chips are down!!

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