Saturday, January 12, 2019

Reading Challenge 2019

"There is no friend as loyal as a book"
---Ernest Hemingway

It's January and it's time to decide on my TBR for 2019. For the past few years, I have been participating in Goodreads Reading Challenge. This time, though, apart from that, I wanted to be part of another Reading Challenge. In the past few years, I have read some really amazing books of fiction. This year, though, I want to explore non-fiction on a greater scale. I am keen on learning something new. So I decided to participate in a Non-fiction reading challenge. My goal in 2019 is to read at least 18 non-fiction books, which roughly translates to 1.5 books per month.

I am participating in 2019 Nonfiction Reading Challenge at Doing Dewey.

I am participating in 2019 Reading Challenge at SMS Nonfiction Book Reviews.

Learning Something New 2019 Reading Challenge - check it out!

At SMS Nonfiction Book Reviews, the challenge is simple:

  • Read at least 3 books on a topic you’ve not read much about but would like to learn more about.
  • Challenge runs Jan 1, 2019 to December 31, 2019
  • You can use any types of books (physical books, ebooks, audiobooks etc)
  • You can overlap your books with other challenges
  • You can pick your books as you go or pick ahead of time, whatever you prefer
  • You can use children’s nonfiction too
  • You can pick your topic now or later and you can change it anytime before you read your first book.
  • It can be something you’ve never read about or something you’ve read a bit about but not a lot.
  • Pick ANY topic you want.
  • You can review the books or just write down your thoughts.
  • You can have a blog or not. Social media is fine.
  • Use #LSNReadingChallenge if you want
Here goes a tentative list of the books meant to be read in 2019:

1. Money Smart: The Indian Woman's Guide to Managing Wealth by Reenita Malhotra Hora & Divya Vij

2. Indian Mutual Funds Handbook by Sankaran

3. The Problem That Has No Name by Beity Friedan

4. Option B by Sheryl Sandberg & Adam Grant

5. On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King

6. Everything you wanted to know about Investing by Shalini Amarnani

7. Seeing Like A Feminist by Nivedita Menon

8. The Beauty Myth by Naomi Wolf

9. Coffee Can Investing by Saurabh Mukherjea, Rakshit Ranjan, Pranab Uniyal

10. The Second Sex by Simone de Beauvoir

11. Income Tax Guide For The Taxpayer by Subhash Lakhotia

12. Women Who Love Too Much by Robin Norwood

13. The Curse: Confronting the Last Unmentionable Taboo: MENSTRUATION by Karen Houppert

14. Chanakya's 7 Secrets of Leadership by Radhakrishnan Pillai & D. Sivanandhan

15. The Heartfulness Way by Daaji

16. Imagining India by Nandan Nilekani

17. The Argumentative Indian by Amartya Sen

18. A Room of One's Own and Three Guineas by Virginia Woolf

However, this is just a tentative list. I may pick-up new books as the year progresses or I may skip a book or two from this list. So lets start reading!

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Book Review: I am a home to butterflies

I am a home to butterfliesI am a home to butterflies by J. Alchem
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"This collection of poetry is all about you and me, but I am afraid it will no longer be about 'you and me' once a reader picks it up. It will then be about them only."

Yes, the themes around which the poetries of this collection revolve around are the ones anybody can relate to. So when the reader starts to read them, these poetries become his/her own. The serenity of love, the sharp heartache that love brings, the laughter and the tears depicted in this collection are felt by all at least once in their lifetime. I'd rather call them quotes instead of poetries, as most of them are very short- some of them even have only a line or two.

The poetries in this collection are arranged in a few groups, each depicting a particular theme, such as Life, You, Love, Obstacles, Break-up, Awakening, Wisdom, Love again. I fell in love with some of the poetries, took screenshots of few and shared with my friends. I am sure if you read this book, you will also be tempted to take screenshots of the poetries. They beautifully convey such deep emotions in so few words. I'd like to share few of my favourites here:

"There is another sky
under the sky
that's you, for me."

"The world
is already
full of temporary people
don't be one."

"And then you left
leaving a story

The second part of the book is named as Letters. It contains a few letters written by a man who is separated from his lover. Strangely for reasons unknown to the reader, they are all written on the 19th day of different months. Reading these letters has been a painful experience for me. I felt choked by emotions. The last of these letters is a reply from his estranged lover, which brings an unexpected twist at the end.

Overall, a good read. The book can be finished within just an hour. So if you love poetries, do give it a try.

P.S.: I got a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. But the views expressed here are unbiased.

View all my reviews

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Wednesday, January 2, 2019

A New Year's Poem

We belonged to an era bygone-
We believed we would get what we long,
For the first day of the year is auspicious,
"কল্পতরু" would grant us wishes precious.

So, make a wish
On this auspicious day-
And see how this comes true.
Because the world is a wish-granting factory,
All you need to do is seeking blessings of the Almighty.

We believed in such fairy-tale,
That wishes made on the first day of the year never fail.

Now the pages of old poetries lie tattered,
Crisp, yellow pages- here and there- scattered.

And when I try to pen down a new poetry-
It still reeks of melancholy,
Wishes that never came true,
And sibilant whispers of old, long-forgotten fairy-tales.

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Sunday, December 16, 2018

Days of Despair

My days were dark
Like an endless night,
When the clouds smother 
The moon and the twinkling stars.
I was living my days
On the edge of a cliff;
One moment of weakness-
And I would get drowned
In a bottomless depth.
I felt fear-
Fear gnawing at my heart,
Ready to swallow me
In it's clammy, salivating mouth.
But I was not ready to give in,
No matter if the nightmare
Loomed far and wide.
I mustered all my will power,
As I didn't want 
To be tied to pessimism only.
And I waited patiently 
For the black night
To usher in a new day,
Full of optimism and sunlight.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend,
WOW: Write A Poem Using These Words

an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

Sunday, November 25, 2018

What If

"Those who are wise do not feel sorry over fate. Even with the greatest wisdom, that which is ordained will happen. No one can transgress the path that has been laid down."
--- Anukramanika Parva, The Mahabharata

Still we feel sorry over fate. You. I. We. Everybody. What if we could travel back in time and rectify our mistakes? What if we would have chosen a different path? What if this? What if that?

But no. No one can change his/her past. Only the present is ours. We all know that. Still when we ponder over our life's course in some lazy afternoon or in some sleepless night, we think about these 'what if's, though these thoughts are useless.

What if I hadn't met you?
What if I hadn't fallen in love,

With the wrong person, at the wrong time?
Could my life had been any different

Than it is now?
May be then that the naive girl

Would never have ceased to exist.
May be then that this cynical version of me

Would never have emerged.
What if we never made love
On that fateful night,

Like two intoxicated lovers,
Madly in love with each other?

May be then that we would never have become parents.
But what good does it serve 
To bring a new life on this earth
Born out of a broken marriage?

What if...
What if...

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend,

WOW: What If... Creative Writing Prompt

an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.


Thursday, November 22, 2018

Facts vs Myths

"HOWEVER, for practical purposes, in a hopelessly practical world..."
---Arundhati Roy

I thought of promises to be forever,
Till life happened,
And I learnt that 'forever' is a lie.

I thought of 'love' to be everlasting,
Till life happened,
And I learnt that 'everlasting' is a myth.

I thought of 'togetherness' to last till twilight,
Till life happened,
And I learnt that nothing in the world is permanent.

In a dystopian world
Driven solely by mundane concerns,
Practicality competes with ideologies
To gain primacy;
And narcissism emerges as the sole driving force
Behind rational human species.

Sunday, November 18, 2018

Life in A Small Town

She turned the key in the lock and opened the door. A sliver of light from the bulb in the staircase sneaked inside the room and made it partially visible. She fumbled for a few seconds in the semi-darkness of the room before she could lay her hands on the switchboard in the wall in right. She pressed all the switches in the switchboard in the hope that one among them must be the switch of the tubelight of the room. And she was right. The tubelight went on and lighted the entire room. She put off her sandals and closed the door behind. The first evening in this small town of Bengal welcomed her in the small neat flat rented by her.

Welcome to my life for it is my story. Being a government officer means I get transferred to a new place every few years. I am accustomed to this life. But this time it was different as I had to leave behind my 6-years-old son. He had started his school and as none of my family members were in a position to move with me, I had no other way but to leave him in the care of my family members back at home.

That first day in that new place, new abode of mine, I felt terribly lonely. As if I was living in a far off place in exile. As if that was a barren place, devoid of any human touch, any semblance of love. The windows of my bedroom opened in the backyard of the apartment. There was a boundary wall and a few trees beside the wall. On the other side of the wall, there was an open field and a poultry farm. No human being was in sight as far as my eyes could see. I felt loveless, alone, vulnerable.

When I returned home from office, I was quite busy. It was drizzling outside and in spite of the untimely rain, I had to venture outside to buy the bare necessities for survival. On my return, I had to wash the utensils and make arrangements for dinner. I washed the rice and lentils, cut the vegetables in pieces, made an omlette. After I was done with dinner, I combed my hair and plaited it. Finally when it was time to go to sleep, I suddenly felt that sleep had eluded me. Sitting in that dark bedroom, in that rain-drenched October night, I was missing my son terribly. Hot tears rolled down my cheeks and there was no one to console me. Finally I got asleep at the wee hours of night. Next day I got up with a headache and missed office. But I knew that no matter what happens, I would have to survive every ordeal. I would have to find happiness in the midst of all. And I started to accustom myself with life in that small town. Because no matter how difficult the circumstances are, life must go on.

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend,
 WOW: She Turned The Key In The Lock And Opened The Door
an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.