Wednesday, May 28, 2014

WWW Wednesday #11 (28th May 2014)

Hello fellow bookworms! It is WWW Wednesday time once more. Hope you had a good reading week.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly reading event hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, you just have to answer the following three (3) questions…

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?




My answers to the above questions are:
What are you currently reading? I am reading "Living To Be A Hundred" by Meera Shashidhara. In this book, nineteen centenarians from different countries and a cross-section of society, share their memoirs, intertwined with the history of their century, as they experienced it. The publisher Leadstart Publishing sent me this book for review.

What did you recently finish reading? I have just finished reading is "Transactions of Belongings" by Jaya Padmanabhan. This book was also sent by the publisher Leadstart Publishing. You can read my review at
Book Review #7: Transactions of Belongings.

What do you think you'll read next? I am traveling at the moment and do not have new books in hand. So if I finish reading the current book, I don't know what to pick up next.

PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own WWW Wednesdays post, or share your answers in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

See you again on a Wednesday. Till then Happy Reading!


I would appreciate if you would spare a moment to rate my blog by clicking on the tab on the top of the sidebar. Thanks!
 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Book Review #7: Transactions of Belongings

Name: Transactions of Belongings
Author: Jaya Padmanabhan
No. of Pages: 197
Genre: Fiction/Short Stories
Publisher: Platinum Press (An imprint of Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd.)
Price: Rs. 145/-
Published in: 2014

The blurb of the book says: 
The short stories in the collection blend emotion and introspection. Moments of urgency and sweetness are fully canvassed and explored. The stories draw out and examine the texture of emotional belonging. In "His Curls," a mother suffers the anguish of wondering if her son is a terrorist. The ending is left to interpretation and several possibilities. The reader is forced to teeter between laughter and sadness in the tragicomedy of "An Indian Summer." "The Blue Arc" is a redemptive tale of a young woman who shows enormous courage. Each story in the collection is a journey of insights. Transactions of Belonging is a unique, intense and gripping work of short fiction.

"In this debut collection, Jaya Padmanabhan has brought together a diverse and memorable group of characters from many kinds of backgrounds. With meticulous details and keen observation, she brings them to life and makes us care about them-their poverty, their loneliness, their tragedies and their triumphs."-CHITRA DIVAKARUNI, author of The Mistress of Spices and Oleander Girl

About the author: 
Jaya Padmanabhan has worked as a Copywriter, Sales Manager, Collections Agent, Software Engineer and Television Producer before emerging as a writer. She believes that her previous jobs distinctly inhabit her work. She has won three Katha Short Story Contest titles, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story recognition and the New America Media award for feature reporting. She lives in California with her husband, mother, twin girls and a Goldendoodle. She is the editor of India Currents magazine.

WHAT I FEEL ABOUT THE BOOK:
I found the cover very intriguing. A pair of eyes peering over a crumpled/worn out piece of paper promises that the stories would be different. And different they were.

The book consists of twelve short stories, all different and quite intense. But a sense of sadness and a lot of emotions are common to all. Here's a peek into the stories:
  •  "The Blue Arc" is the story of a young girl who, given her background, had a promising future. But fate played a cruel joke on her family and she turned into a sex worker.
  • "Strapped for Time" is the story of an old man who is lonely and who lives a routine life minute by minute.
  • "Curtains Drawn" is a story which reminds us of men who drink and abuse their families.
  • "The Little Matter of Fresh Meadows Feces" talks about people living abroad and how their parents back home lead their lives and how their children become foreigners in their own homes.
  • "Indian Summer" is a bittersweet tale of the relationship a typical teenager with her mother in a foreign land.
I loved reading the stories. They are immensely gripping and intense. At the end of each story I was gasping for more. I wanted to know what happens next. I wanted more. May be it's the way a good short story should make you feel, isn't it!

I feel the author is an amazing writer. She definitely has a way with words. The book is a piece of mature work. I look forward to reading many of her work.

I give the "Transactions of Belongings" 5 stars on a scale of 5. Do grab a copy guys!


I would appreciate if you would spare a moment to rate my blog by clicking on the tab on the top of the sidebar. Thanks!
 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

WWW Wednesday #10 (14th May 2014)

Hello fellow bookworms! It is WWW Wednesday time once more. Hope you had a good reading week.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly reading event hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, you just have to answer the following three (3) questions…

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?


My answers to the above questions are:
 
What are you currently reading? I am reading a collection of short stories in Assamese language which is my  mother-tongue. It is called "Aabha Gardenerar Godhuli" (The evening of Aabha Gardener) by Dr. Indira Goswami (in Assam she is popular as Mamoni Raisom Goswami). I am also reading "Youth" by J. M. Coetzee.

What did you recently finish reading? I have just finished reading is 
"Leaving Eden" by Julia Anne D. LeClaire.. The review of the same is Read Review: Leaving Eden.

What do you think you'll read next? I have not decided what to read next.
 
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own WWW Wednesdays post, or share your answers in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!

See you again on a Wednesday. Till then Happy Reading!
I would appreciate if you would spare a moment to rate my blog by clicking on the tab on the top of the sidebar. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Liebster Award


This is the first award nomination for Natasha'z Words. My other blog Points To Ponder has been nominated for several chain blog awards but this one quite special as Natasha'z Words has finally made its debut in the world of blog awards. And all thanks to Sachin Prabhu at Journey With Prabhu. So Sachin, a bigggg thank you to you. I am really honoured.

Like most chain blog awards, Liebster has rules attached. And they seem to change as it changes hands! (You can read about my first Liebster at The Liebster Nomination: The chain blog award) My nominator followed the following rules and so I shall do the same.

The Rules:
  1. Link back and thank the blogger who nominated you in your post.
  2. List 11 facts about yourself.
  3. Answer the 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.
  4. Pick 5 - 10 new bloggers (must have less than 300 followers) to nominate.
  5. Ask them 11 new questions. Do not re-nominate the blogger who nominated you. 
  6. Go to each blogger's site and inform them of their nomination.
11 facts about myself (these might sound familiar to my regular readers):
  1. I love rain.
  2. I am a bibliophile.
  3. I have a green thumb.
  4. I can be quite judgmental at times.
  5. I prefer some alone time during the day.
  6. I don't like folding laundry.
  7. I am a shoe fetish.
  8. I like doing my household chores while listening to music.
  9. I would love to start painting again.
  10. I can have terrible mood swings.
  11. Good music uplifts my mood.
Answers to the questions asked by my nominator:

1.  Who is your favourite author and why?  Khaled Hosseini. His storytelling style is simply engrossing and involves my heart in the story.

2.  What are your hobbies apart from blogging? Reading books, gardening and crafts.

3.  Mention one among your most happiest moments? When my parents approved of the person I love (that's my husband).

4.  What is the best compliment you got? That's a personal one!

5.  Do you think girls and boys and can be best friends? Whats your view while society mistakes them for couple?  They can be. But as there is a thin line between friendship and love (when it's between the opposite sexes), one of them ends up falling for the other. This is what I have seen mostly around me.

6.  Which is your dream destination and why? Paris as it is called as the most romantic place.

7.  Which is your favourite novel ? The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.

8.  One thing you love to do most and why? Reading novels because they take me through different lives, places and time.

9.  Have you ever written a dairy ? If so do you ever read it? What do you feel about it?  Yes, I had started writing a diary since I was a kid. Yes, I do read my diaries. They tell me how I have grown over the years and also remind me of the incidents I had forgotten.

10. Name a song which makes you smile. There are quite a few of them. "Aas Paas Hai Khuda"(from the movie Anjanaa Anjanee) is one such song.

11. Who is your inspiration for blogging ? My experiences and thoughts.

My nominations are:
  1. Journey with Choki G
  2. Dip-Tea Blogs Here...
  3. TANGLED VIBES
  4. one such story
  5. THE OTHER SIDE
My 11 questions to my nominees are:
  1. What is your favourite colour?
  2. What is the meaning of your name?
  3. Which is your favourite television sitcom?
  4. Which do you like better-sea/ocean or mountains? Why?
  5. Which is your favourite post on your blog?
  6. What is your favourite time of the day?
  7. Which animal/bird/fish would you like keep as a pet?
  8. Name three books which touched your heart.
  9. Have you ever bullied anyone? If yes, who?
  10. Who is favourite cartoon character?
  11. Which is more important--family or career?
Congratulations to my nominations and I hope you will accept my appreciation and in turn spread the blog love. If you don't do awards, please take my nomination as my heartfelt praise for your blog. Cheers!



I would appreciate if you would spare a moment to rate my blog by clicking on the tab on the top of the sidebar. Thanks!

Monday, May 12, 2014

New Book Releases #1 (Leadstart)

I have been reviewing books from Leadstart Publishing Pvt. Ltd. for quite some time now. You can find the list of their books which I have reviewed on the "Books Reviewed on Request" tab above. The nationwide bestseller "Asura-Tale of the Vanquished" by Anand Neelakantan is a publication of Leadstart. Leadstart has supported so many writers and most them are debutantes.

Leadstart has several releases lined up. I am sharing some of the covers and their sneak peeks on SlideShare.

About the Book: IF THERE IS ONE BOOK WHICH SPANS GENERATIONS WITH THE COMMON THREAD OF COLLECTIVE WISDOM, IT IS THIS ONE. Nineteen centenarians from different countries and a cross-section of society, share their memoirs, intertwined with the history of their century, as they experienced it. They were ordinary people who lived extraordinary lives. In these pages, they share their values, beliefs, habits, attitudes and lessons learnt from living to be a hundred. Most important of all, they tell us how to harmonise science and soul. They were around from the rustic horse and buggy age to the sequencing of the human genome. They witnessed the Big Bands performing, the railroads being constructed, and Gandhijis non-violent movement against the British. They have had personal experiences of the Great Depression, the World Wars, the Japanese invasion of China, Indias freedom struggle, and apartheid. They have lost children to war and poverty. So what inspired them and kept them Spirited? What did they learn from history? How did they find the strength and the will to keep going in times of despair? Is there hope in the 21st century for all of us to achieve more fulfilling lives? In their diverse narratives, they offer us a common and real hope for health, longevity and a saner world-based on our own humanity.


About the Author: Meera Shashidhara was born and raised in Bangalore, India. In 1991, she immigrated to the US, where she did an MBA and worked in California, for over six years. She took a break from work when her second child was born. Though her career has been in Finance, Meera has always had a keen interest in human behavior. She is also deeply interested in nature and conservation, and is a qualified Naturalist. Meera lives in Bangalore with her family. She can be reached at: meera_shashidhara@yahoo.com.


About the Book: Do yourself a favor. Read this book. Your dreams will come alive, in a light, sometimes in a humorous way. You will relate to the stories and be gently awakened to make your story a reality.Ghanshyam Tiwari Harvard Kennedy School The conceptualization and execution gives the reader a feel that dreams and reality co-exist on the same horizon. Dreams of the Mango People will set you free for all your inhibitions and hesitations which come along with a desire to dream. Vikas Choudhary Harvard University, IIT Kharagpur Director, Eduvision. Dreams of the Mango People will force you to think and visualize your dreams. A self-refection guide that helps to believe in the power of dreams. Nawazuddin Siddiqui Actor This book is not only inspiring but also shows you the ways to start the business with strong foundation. The success of any business is determined by courage of its founders and preparedness of its leader. Dreams of the Mango People will act as a comprehensive guide for both these essential ingredients of success. Abhinav Chanakya Wharton Business School (ISEP) Dreams of the Mango People explains the importance of living each moment without pressure, without forecasting the result, because some experiences cannot be explained by a function and the life itself is too mysterious to be managed mathematically. Micro Di Maio Bacconi University, Italy Dreams of the Mango People is so much about what I believe and teach. The 'heroes' of stories whether myths, folk-tales, novels, plays or films are created not just for our entertainment but for our edification. Take up the struggle and change whatever needs changing to make the world a better place. Barry John Writer and Director.


About the Book: Rayna De, stuck in a dead end job with a boss from hell, zero love life and the big 3-O looming large on the immediate horizon, has started to panic a bit. No, make that panic a lot. Enter new object of lust in the office, Deven Ahuja, and Rayna is overpowered by inappropriate visions of Cupid aiming his arrows straight into her heart, with turtle doves doing their billing and cooing act in the backdrop. Alas, Deven is completely out of Rayna's league despite the contradictory messages he seems to be sending out, and is, as decreed by page three supplements of the city newspapers, the man in the life of the gorgeous, light eyed model-turned-actress Sharbari Raina. As Rayna battles with her crush, shaky employment status and dithers about signing up for domesticity with the approved-by-her-parents Sid Bose, of the multi zero pay package and three-bedroom house, she discovers that life has its own plans

About the Author: Kiran Manral has worked with some of the leading media houses in India as a features writer and journalist. Her debut novel, The Reluctant Detective, was published in 2012. She lives with her family in Mumbai and puts her current job definition down as school gate mom.




About the Book: The short stories in the collection blend emotion and introspection. Moments of urgency and sweetness are fully canvassed and explored. The stories draw out and examine the texture of emotional belonging. In "His Curls," a mother suffers the anguish of wondering if her son is a terrorist. The ending is left to interpretation and several possibilities. The reader is forced to teeter between laughter and sadness in the tragicomedy of "An Indian Summer." "The Blue Arc" is a redemptive tale of a young woman who shows enormous courage. Each story in the collection is a journey of insights. Transactions of Belonging is a unique, intense and gripping work of short fiction. "In this debut collection, Jaya Padmanabhan has brought together a diverse and memorable group of characters from many kinds of backgrounds. With meticulous details and keen observation, she brings them to life and makes us care about them-their poverty, their loneliness, their tragedies and their triumphs."-CHITRA DIVAKARUNI, author of The Mistress of Spices and Oleander Girl.


About the Author: Jaya Padmanabhan has worked as a Copywriter, Sales Manager, Collections Agent, Software Engineer and Television Producer before emerging as a writer. She believes that her previous jobs distinctly inhabit her work. She has won three Katha Short Story Contest titles, the Lorian Hemingway Short Story recognition and the New America Media award for feature reporting. She lives in California with her husband, mother, twin girls and a Goldendoodle. She is the editor of India Currents magazine.


I think the covers look quite intriguing and I want to read all of them! I can't wait to have a copy in my hands. Do have look at these. I am sure you will feel like reading atleast a couple of these upcoming releases.


I would appreciate if you would spare a moment to rate my blog by clicking on the tab on the top of the sidebar. Thanks!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Read Review: Leaving Eden

Leaving Eden by Anne D. LeClaire
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 27th 2002 by Ballantine Books

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb: “The promise of beauty—the kind of real, personal beauty that can transform a person’s life—arrived in Eden, Virginia, on the fourth Thursday in June.” That’s the day Tallie Brock sees the sign at the Klip-N-Kurl, the beauty parlor where she works part-time, sweeping the floor and refilling shampoo bottles, among other chores. (What she really enjoys is listening to the women chat, gossip, and buzz like a beehive.) The sign in the front window announces GLAMOUR DAY. For twenty dollars, a woman can receive a complete professional makeover—and a glossy nine-by-twelve-inch picture of the result.

For Tallie, the glam shot just may be her ticket out of Lovettsville. She dreams of someday going to Hollywood and becoming a Star. Her mother, who was the spitting image of Natalie Wood, used to say “the sky’s the limit.” In fact, her mother once left home to make a movie in Los Angeles. But she returned six months later without whispering a word about it—and tried to pick up her life right where she left off. Tallie noticed something different, though. And her mother’s best friend, Martha Lee, the plainest woman within miles, knew the secret that soon the whole town would discover. At the time, Tallie was just afraid her mother would get antsy and disappear again. She was only half right.

But that was four years ago, and now Glamour Day is fast approaching. While jotting down observations in her Rulebook for Living (such as “Women with fat faces shouldn’t wear bangs” and “Beetles signify change”), Tallie finds herself changing in unexpected ways—as she tests the limits of trust, explores her growing attraction to a boy from a family as rich as her imagination, and reaches for the sky like she has never done before.

By turns funny and tender, joyous and poignant, bestselling author Anne LeClaire has written a winning, stylish novel of small-town Southern life— and what it means to be a mother, daughter, best friend, wife, and lover.

My Review:
The cover of the book depicts a quiet town, sweet and simple. I picked up this book at a bookstore. I was appealed by the cover and the blurb. And I was not disappointed at all. It was a welcome break from the intense books I was reading. Also the protagonist and I share our names!

The story is narrated by Tallie (Natasha) Brock, the protagonist. She leaves in a sleepy little town called Eden (imaginary) in Virginia, USA. She narrates her life through her teenage years and her relationship with her mother, who passed away when she was just twelve. She maintains a rule-book where she jots down do's and don'ts, things she learned from her mother and ladies who come to the beauty parlour where she worked, and also the lessons she learnt she learned from her own experiences. After her mother's death, she becomes very lonely and her father became indifferent to things around him. She also starts discovering new things about her mother's life and feels that she was a mystery. Like her mother, she aspires to become a Hollywood star and decides that leaving Eden is her ticket to happiness.

"Leaving Eden" is a very sweet, realistic and believable story. It is a story of self discovery of a confused teenage girl. I felt as if I was reading a Hollywood movie. But I must add that it is a girly story and I doubt if guys would like it. But the women would really enjoy reading it. I recommend it to all the ladies.


I would appreciate if you would spare a moment to rate my blog by clicking on the tab on the top of the sidebar. Thanks!

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

WWW Wednesday #9 (7th May 2014)

I know I am doing very poorly with my WWW Wednesdays. Last month, I was tied up with the A to Z Challenge and could not give much attention to this blog. I hope I shall be more sincere here also.

WWW Wednesday is a weekly reading event hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, you just have to answer the following three (3) questions…
  • What are you currently reading?
  • What did you recently finish reading?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?



My answers to the above questions are:
 
What are you currently reading? I am reading "Leaving Eden" by Anne D. LeClaire. I picked up this book at a store after reading the blurb. I am really liking the book and I am almost done with it.

What did you recently finish reading? I have just finished reading "Sound of Paper" by  Julia Cameron. The review of the same is at Read Review: Sound of Paper. 


What do you think you'll read next? I started reading two other books a couple of weeks back. One is a collection of short stories in Assamese language which is my mother-tongue. It is called "Aabha Gardenerar Godhuli" (The evening of Aabha Gardener) by Dr. Indira Goswami (in Assam she is popular as Mamoni Raisom Goswami). The other is "Youth" by J. M. Coetzee. So I am likely to pick them up again.
 
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own WWW Wednesdays post, or share your answers in a comment here (if you don’t have a blog). Thanks!


I would appreciate if you would spare a moment to rate my blog by clicking on the tab on the top of the sidebar. Thanks!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Read Review: The Sound of Paper

The Sound of Paper by
Paperback, 336 pages
Published January 27th 2005 by Tarcher
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Blurb: The bestselling author of The Artist's Way draws on her many years of personal experience as both a writer and a teacher to uncover the difficult soul work that artists must do to find inspiration.

In The Sound of Paper, Julia Cameron delves deep into the heart of the personal struggles that all artists experience. What can we do when we face our keyboard or canvas with nothing but a cold emptiness? How can we begin to carve out our creation when our vision and drive are clouded by life's uncertainties? In other words, how can we begin the difficult work of being an artist? In this inspiring book, Cameron describes a process of constant renewal, of starting from the beginning.  She writes, "When we are building a life from scratch, we must dig a little. We must be like that hen scratching beneath the soil. 'What goodness is hidden here, just below the surface?' we must ask."

With personal essays accompanied by exercises designed to develop the power to infuse one's art with a deeply informed knowledge of the soul, this book is an essential artist's companion from one of the foremost authorities on the creative process. Cameron's most illuminating book to date, The Sound of Paper provides readers with a spiritual path for creating the best work of their lives.


The book is collection of the author's personal essays. My sister and I saw this book in a bookshop and my sister gifted it to me.

This book is for artists, be they be writers, painters, sculptors or actors. It is about how to keep our creativity flowing. The author wrote this book throughout a spring and summer, and have very beautifully linked up the seasons of a person's creativity with the natural seasons. She has given tips and activities as to how keep our creative zeal alive and kicking; how we should not worried and frustrated when we suffer from a creative block; how we need to take care of the artist within us.

I really enjoyed the book very much. And I loved the simple yet beautiful language and style of writing of the author. Every aspiring artist can try out the various suggestions and advice she has given in the book. Even you are an any kind of artist or aspire to be one, you can surely grab a copy of this book.

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