I’ve got my ..

nose buried in quite a few books. This year has started on a reading high even though my reviews hardly reflect that. Sometimes, I just feel so lost in the book and the million thoughts that loom over my small head that I fail miserably to makes notes of it. How do I note down a gazillion questions that don’t find answers but give rise to more questions? Anyhoooo, I better gather the scattered thoughts  and start writing about my reading experience before I close this window for another day.

Tequila Mockingbird: Cocktails with a Literary Twist by Tim Federle

I chose this for 2 reasons: the title (Tquila mockingbird from To Kill a Mocking Bird by Harper Lee) and the phrase “literary twist”. Yeah, I choose books like that. It sounded so tempting that I bought it on my Kindle at 3A.M. one fine morning. To summarize in one word: I loved the book. I loved the wit, the precision, the information and just the way it has been brought together in neat little chapters that have brilliant wordplay with literary gems and end with food/drinks. What’s not to like, right?


The book consists of 5 parts namely, Drinks for the dames, Gulps for guys, Bevvies for bookclubs, Refreshments for recovering readers and Bar bites for book hounds. Each drink recipe is assigned a very witty name associated with a particular book e.g. Love in the Time of Kahlua is a wordplay of the book “Love in the Time of Cholera” by Gabriel García Márquez. Each recipe comes with a satirical description of the book it is named after followed by the recipe and measurements. I don’t enjoy alcohol and I am the one who orders virgin everything or sip on some wine occassionally. Nevertheless, I loved this book. My favourite section was ofcourse the one on bar bites. I actually marked a few recipes. Read it for the wit, read it for the unique way it has been written and for the sheer joy that the names of drinks such as The Pitcher of Dorian Grey Goose, The Last of the Mojitos, Love in the Time of Kahlúa, Romeo and Julep, A Rum of One’s Own, Are You There, God?,  It’s Me, Margarita or Vermouth the Bell Tolls, all named after books, brings. Go on, read this one. One of those rare times when you can have your drink and read it too!

The man who was Thursday: A Nightmare by G.K.Chesterton

I picked this up to read on my Kindle as well because I loved the intrigue and curiosity that the title created in me. Plus, I love Chesterton. I grew up listening to Bernard Shaw and Chesterton’s wit by pa.


The book begins in the most interesting of ways. Two passionate poets argue  about the society, its good and bad.  The focus is on whether chaos should reign the world or order be the true characteristic of mankind. Starting from this, we are drawn into the heart of anarchy characterised by several events and people where none can be expected to be who he is. The main protagonist, Syme, a policeman/poet joins a bizarre group of anarchists. These anarchists each have a name of the week as their title and Syme is given the title of Thursday. The events leading up to this itself are very amusing. However he quickly discovers that it may be harder to hide who he is in the group  as he discovers some surprises about the anarchists themselves.

I was piqued to know the ending, to say the least. But the ending I must say is not easy to comprehend. It wasn’t for me. I tossed and turned in my sleep because I wanted to find answers. The book is an allegory. It is also a symbol of fight between law and order vs. anarchy. While the book was written more than a hundred years ago, the question still holds true today. Apparently, when Chesterton wrote this book, the threat of anarchist movement was large. Even to this day, we have a lot of forces that fight law and order/ go against it. But different readers feel differently about the ending the true meaning of the book. There are several explanations offered – Christianity, Communism, experiencing pain to reap the good and so on. But I never really understood the book in its entirety. What started off as a good James Bondery expressed in unique detail with superb wit (as always!), turned out to be one seductive web that threw questions about life and society. What I also inferred was the masks people wear to hide/protect themselves from others. We aren’t what we show ourselves to be.

The book is written beautifully. The story moves in and out of locales and yet does it with such finesse and fluidity that not many can boast of. I loved Chesterton’s language and the ubiquitous humour. Sample this:

His respectability was spontaneous and sudden, a rebellion against rebellion. He came of a family of cranks, in which all the oldest people had all the newest notions. One of his uncles always walked about without a hat, and another had made an unsuccessful attempt to walk about with a hat and nothing else. His father cultivated art and self-realisation; his mother went in for simplicity and hygiene.

I wouldn’t recommend this book for everyone. If you enjoy an allegory, some drama, some mystery and a blend of the remaining genres all in one, do read this one. And when you do, please tell me what you make of it. I am yet to sleep in peace.


Dear Mr. Knightley and a wonderful bonus! :)

Imagine being granted a scholarship on the grounds that you must write a letter sharing your progress  to that mysterious person. Now, imagine a book that is a collection of these letters. Outpourings of a heart that make you want to stop and realize that it is Sam‘s life you are reading and not your own.  And the icing on the already delicious cake? Lots of Jane Austen for you. Yes, my dearies. That’s right.

I fell in love with the title “Dear Mr. Knightley” because, if you know me, you know I love letters. So, when Booksneeze sent me a copy of this book to review, I was only too happy to do it. Who is Sam? What is the past that she guards so fiercely? Who is the mysterious Mr. Knightley who asks her to write letters? Will she ever meet Mr. Knightley?


Sam receives an extraordinary opportunity when a certain Mr. Knightley offers her a scholarship to study at the prestigious Medill School of Journalism on the condition that she updates him of her progress. The book traces a beautiful transformation of Sam as she steps into college, the process of making friends, living up to expectations, finding love amidst fighting other battles, all the while seeking solace in books. I expected a cute, happy book but was quite blown away by the depth at places.

The language is simple with a good dose of Jane Austen (ofcourse!)  and was a page turner for me. I enjoy first person accounts and the interesting premise only aded to the good experience. There were instances where I was a little impatient and wondered why the transformation took so much time but then that’s life, right? Things don’t change miraculously always. And fighting those demons and healing yourself is no  crash course either. Dear Mr. Knightley is an epistolary novel that turned out to be a lovely debut for me!

Now here’s the bonus. Katherine Reay, the author of this lovely book, was kind enough to do a small interview for my blog. This is my first interview with an author and I am pretty kicked about sharing it with you all. Thank you so much Katherine for being so nice!

1. I totally enjoyed your book! How did the idea for the book come about?

Dear Mr. Knightley started during my recovery from an injury. Many of the ways I defined myself were removed for a time – tennis, running, tae kwon do, cleaning the house, driving carpool, volunteering, even standing in the kitchen cooking…. I was housebound for several months recovering, praying, reading and, eventually, writing. I started reading the classics, beginning with Jane Austen, and spread from there. When I got to Jean Webster’s Daddy Long Legs, I found context for the character already developing in my head. It all rolled from there…

 2. Sam undergoes a transformation that is beautifully reflected in the letters. Is Sam’s life based on someone you know personally?

 Sam shares no common history with any one I know personally or with me. That is why I say at the back of the book that all mistakes are my own. I need to be so careful about that because my book is fiction, but for some, such an experience is reality. When writing I worked to make Sam’s life bigger, tougher, and more challenging than many of us face so that we could more easily sneak into her emotional world and realize her struggles are universal – because, regardless of our circumstances, I think we all strive to define ourselves, face insecurity and fear, seek a place to stand and belong, and search for a family to love.

3. What do you enjoy most about writing?

Honestly, I love it all. As my sister says, “You get paid to live in your head.” But “most”?  I think I like that moment when the skeleton is on the page (my initial 50K word draft) and I get to start layering emotions. That’s a wonderful time.

4. Loved reading so much of Jane Austen. Was she a great influence in your life? Who are some of your other favourite authors?

She is huge for me. I have read all her novels repeatedly – and they are brilliant. I also return again and again to Tolkien, Lewis, Dickens, and Chesterton. Now that said, I don’t spend all my time in the past – there are innumerable great books out today and I try to inhale as many as possible.

5. Tell us a little more about your family.

I have a wonderful husband, three fantastic kids and a dog. The kids are thrilled with the book – they think it’s much more glamorous than it is and that’s fun.

 6. How does your family feel about your book?

My immediate family is bursting with joy, but my extended family is completely surprising and delighting me. I knew they loved me etc., but to hear all my cousins on Facebook and Twitter raving about the book is so fun. It’s nice to connect across the miles this way.

 7. What are your hobbies?

Ah… so many. I play tennis, I run, I read, I cook, I try to clean the house, I only needlepoint in the summer while visiting my parents and watching movies, I love gluing things back together and fixing stuff and I fly fish.

 8. Any more books in the pipeline?

Lizzy and Jane is next and in the editing process right now. It will be out next fall and I am so excited about this story. It’s got all the big guns: sisters, conflict, food, Jane Austen, Hemingway (threw you there, didn’t I?), love, and breast cancer. I know that last one is a bummer, but it’s a reality that so many of us experience either personally or walking the journey with family and friends. Basically Lizzy and Jane is the story of a young woman, Lizzy, who has excised love from her life and, as she helps her sister through chemotherapy, she starts to put it back in – in all its wonderful and varied forms.

Thank you Katherine!

So peeps, have you read this book yet?



The Hunger Games trilogy

This is one trilogy that I cannot write about. I mean, I love it so much! Yet, here I am. Because I loved it so much that I think my blog will be honoured to have this here. Okay, that was too much of a love declaration.


 I love sci-fi. But that’s not the reason why I love this trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Throughout the trilogy – The Hunger Games, Catching Fire and Mockingjay, there is something about Katniss Everdeen, the protagonist that made me want to cling on to this through night and day until I could store it all up neatly in the deep pit of my tummy. Yeah, I devoured it. For such is the character of the protagonist. The love that the author has for Katniss’ character shows through the pages. And really, that’s not something you see about often.

The trilogy starts off with Katniss introducing the storyline. Here, I must admit that I was a little not too impressed. But that was only for about 10 pages. Once I started to know more about the nation of Panem, the ruthless Capitol that dictates the 12 districts in the most outrageous of ways and the hunger games, I just couldn’t stop.

The Capitol has its own way of entertainment – the Hunger Games. Each district sends in 2 children beteen 12 an 18 years drawn through lots for the game.   These participants have to fight it off on the arena until one is left standing. When Katniss volunteers to save her sister Prim, her character awes you. And when Katniss makes the first kill in the arena, with not much remorse, you like her more. While evil is not always the answer to evil, viewing it as justice meted out to evil changes everything. And what makes one appreciate the sequence is the kind of understanding and worldy wisdom that 12-18 year olds show in the series. Call me blinded by love, but there really is a lot more to the story than that observable on first glance.

A post-American America as some say. An inhuman Capitol. 12 districst that contribute in different ways – electronics, agriculture, coal etc. And this strong, honourable,independent and heroic  Katniss.  And then, there are the rest who you will love equally – Gale, Peeta, Rue, Prim and ofcourse Haymitch. Children suffering, unable to walk away.

If there is one thing I wanted more of, it would be history. How did this come about? Why were some of the customs in place at all? and so on..

Yet, all the 3 books impressed me immensely. I highly recommend it. Else, atleast the movie, though am yet to watch the first one.

Have you read this already? How do you feel about the series? Who is your favourite character?

Seven patients

The big news first. I got my Amazon Kindle from K. And what a beauty she has turned out to be! All of you Kindle fans out there, Hi-10!

kindle  kindle2

I wanted to try the free books first. There aren’t a lot of great ones free. Obviously, actually. There maybe a rare gem but you know what I mean. So, the first one was 7 patients. I thought it was a medical thriller of sorts and so promptly downloaded it.

7 patients

Written by Atul Kumar, this book is about a 3rd year medical student on rotations in a University hospital in the US. Moving from ICU to ER and so on, Raj Mok’s life and perceptions of medicine are changed by 7 patients he encounters.

Each of the chapters throw light on how a doctor’s charts maybe anything but the truth. Challenging decisions, lessons learned, the team and mentorship go a long way in facilitating a medical student to form his own construct of what kind of doctor he/she should be. And this, is by no means easy. I personally related to the “detachment” any healthcare professional must develop if he were to be objective in his treatment.

There is also the topic of euthanasia being discussed from the perspective of a third year student. Colostomy for prostitution, the deadly mistake of not wearing gloves when handling patients, the lethal TEN, a face in the process of being eaten by maggots – definitely not everyone’s cup of tea. But then, which book is?

The language is  okay. I found some word errors and editing errors in my Kindle version. I sure hope, they have rectified it in their prints atleast. Also, I did read that the questioning procedure by the detective in one of the cases is not how it is legally done in the US.  The first patient’s story was a bit disappointing in the way one of the characters (the detective) uses coarse language but then that’s the character. Probably, better research into the workings of legal systems and medical systems  and better use of language would have helped take this book a notch higher.

Some patients’ descriptions are gory to say the least but then, nothing is surprising in medicine. I enjoyed reading this one because I could relate to some of the dilemnas I faced as a student myself when pursuing internships in hospitals. The life of a student on rotation is a mixed bag – there is a whole lot to learn if you are keen and at the same time, it is a little overwhelming because you get close to acute care in a way you never thought you would. You get attached to patients and it is hard to say bye though the first thing you wish for them is to get out of the hospital ASAP. The paediatric wards are something else totally. Medicine training really is all about what you make of it.

Definitely not  ” The House of God“. But, passable and sometimes a page-turner, especially if you like medicine.