Book: Straight to Normal
Author: Sharif D. Rangnekar
Genre: Non-Fiction, Autobiography, LGBT
Number of pages: 222 pages
My Rating: 5/5
MY REVIEW: I received a review copy of ‘Straight to Normal’ from the author in exchange for an honest review.
The book is an autobiography of the author’s life, describing his family and childhood in Mumbai, then Kolkata and finally Delhi. The author has vividly described his struggles with academics, his excess weight and how his family and he struggled to cope with the untimely loss of his father.
He was vaguely aware that there was something different about him as far as his interest in women was concerned but due to the lack of available information during that period, he could not easily figure out that he was not inclined to be attracted towards women but rather towards his own gender.
The process through which the author comes to terms with his sexuality and the support received by him from his family and close friends is wonderfully depicted by him.
I found it extremely endearing that the author has placed so much emphasis on his objective of finding true love. He has been extremely candid in talking about regarding his failed relationships, crushes and various disappointments in life, as indeed a true autobiography should be.
The book is extremely interesting and thought provoking. I am sure that it took a lot of courage and determination on the author’s part to make sure that it was published. I hope that this book serves the purpose of dispelling the prejudices still held by many towards the gay community. I believe that everyone will definitely benefit from reading this book.
Book: The Glass House A Year of Our Days
Author: Chanchal Sanyal
Published by: Rupa Publications
Number of pages: 184 pages
My Rating: 4/5
MY REVIEW: I was kindly provided with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
The story is told in the first person by the protagonist referred to only as M.B. and ‘Bungali Saab’. M.B., a history professor and his wife Roshni, a designer have always dreamed of owning their own home and accordingly invest in an upcoming scheme in Gurgaon.
However the development runs into a multitude of problems and construction is stalled. This leads to the unravelling of M.B. and Roshni’s marriage and creates many more problems.
There are many characters in the story that have been wonderfully portrayed by the author. The Punjabi and Bengali culture and their eccentricities too have been depicted well. The characters of M.B. and Roshni’s landlord Mr. Khanna, his gym freak son Rocky, M.B’s successful older brother Tubluda and M.B.’s colleague Malati have been so well etched out that they greatly add to the story.
One cannot help but empathise with M.B. as the struggles that he goes through to own a flat are those that every middle class Indian experiences. The story is well written and extremely interesting. Does the story have a happy ending? The reader needs to read the book to find that out.
I will certainly recommend this book to you. People of all ages can certainly understand and enjoy the book.
Author: Ashish Jaiswal
Number of pages: 210 pages
My Rating: 5/5
MY REVIEW: I received a review copy of Fluid from the author in exchange for an honest review.
The book begins on an interesting note with a few incidents based on different characters. The author uses these characters as an example to demonstrate how they are not ‘fluid’. He then goes on to explain his concept of being fluid.
The author has obviously extensively researched his facts before presenting them in the book. I was amazed to learn so many little known facts about various famous and historical personalities that have been narrated in the book.
So what is being fluid all about? Of course, the reader needs to read the book to find that out but if I am interpreting what the author means to say correctly, being fluid is all about not slotting oneself in a single category, but being multi vocational and knowledgeable in different fields.
There are many insights by the author about the rigidity of the educational system, in particular the divide between science and art.
The book and the concept put forward by the author is extremely interesting and thought provoking. I believe that everyone will definitely benefit from reading this book.
Book: Broken Crayons Can Still Colour
Author: Captain Rakesh Walia
Genre: Non-Fiction, Autobiography
Number of pages: 143 pages
My Rating: 5/5
MY REVIEW: I received a review copy of Broken Crayons Can Still Colour from the author in exchange for an honest review.
The book has been divided into three parts, probably for each stage of the author’s life.
The author first describes his miserable childhood and teenage years, how being orphaned at the age of six, led him to being passed around from relative to relative and the kind of existence that he led. His childhood is best described in the author’s own words as being truly, “Dickensian”.
I loved reading the part where the author gets inspiration to join the armed forces. He holds on to the dream over numerous years and strives to fulfil his dream, managing to overcome various obstacles.
The author has given us a wonderful insight into the rigours of training to be an officer as well as the numerous hardships faced by soldiers on their postings.
Later the author leaves the army and starts life as a civilian. In his new life also, he faces many difficulties and has described how he managed to overcome each one and establish himself in the corporate world.
The book is extremely well-written, interesting and highly motivating. I was both moved and inspired by it. I believe that adults and young people both will definitely benefit from reading this book.
Book: The Mind Game
Author: Devika Das
Genre: Non-Fiction, Self-Help
Published by: Blue Rose Publishers
Number of pages: 203 pages
My Rating: 4/5
MY REVIEW: The author Devika Das kindly sent me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
This book can be deemed as a “self-help” or a “self-improvement” book. But what I really liked about the book is that the author doesn’t preach to the reader. Instead certain pearls of wisdom are imparted very simply and clearly to the reader.
The book has been divided into six sections: how to master your emotions, how to analyse people, how to live better with lies, how to strive for happiness, how to deal with anger and how to be happy in the workplace.
It is necessary to be guided in all these matters in the modern times when stress levels are at an all-time high and numerous people are struggling with unresolved anger, stress and depression.
There are many things in the book that the reader may already know. But when we struggle with certain situations in life, we tend to forget these things. Reading the book certainly helped me to get a fresh perspective on how to approach my life and problems.
I will certainly recommend this book to readers as motivating and inspiring. People of all ages can understand and relate to the book.
Book: The Diary on the Fifth Floor
Author: Raisha Lalwani
Published by: Rupa Publications
Number of pages: 164 pages
My Rating: 5/5
MY REVIEW: I received a copy of “The Diary on the Fifth Floor” by Raisha Lalwani in exchange for an honest review.
The story is about Savannah, a young woman who visits Dr. Rama Berry, a psychiatrist, whose clinic is located on the fifth floor. Initially, Savannah consults Dr. Berry under false pretences. However, the doctor sees through her deception.
Savannah leaves her diary with Dr. Berry. This diary contains her innermost thoughts. There are several stories and incidents narrated by her in the diary.
There is a deep, underlying message in the book. Seeking psychiatric treatment is considered to be a social stigma in our society even today. Are the stories and incidents written by Savannah in her diary real? Did they actually happen to Savannah herself? Will Dr. Berry be able to help her? What is actually wrong with Savannah? These are just some of the questions that arise while reading the book.
“The Diary on the Fifth Floor” is an extremely interesting story that is worth reading.
Book: The Fictitious Dream
Author: Ravish T. Ram
Published by: Notion Press
Number of pages: 158 pages
My Rating: 3/5
MY REVIEW: The author Ravish T. Ram kindly sent me a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.
The story is fiction but the author has conveyed a motivational message by way of the story.
Rakvendra or Rak is a young man who suddenly finds himself in a dessert. He meets an old man there who leads him on a strange journey. At various stages in the story, Rak finds himself in a sanatorium, in a palace and in a forest.
He plays various roles, that of a husband, prisoner, guard and soldier. Is all this really happening to Rak or is this just a dream? What is the reason his life is taking so many twists and turns?
The story is worth reading in order to understand the underlying message the author wishes to convey.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Ravish T. Ram is a freestyle thinker and dreamer who wanted to become an author since early childhood.