Guestpost: We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Review by Nam H Nguyen

About Nam H Nguyen

Nam H Nguyen is a Melbourne based freelancer. His publications can be found online at The Australia Times magazine and on his personal blog, Scratches and Scribbles. An Australian by birth, Nam is a major in Creative Writing and English literature. He can be found perusing Melbourne’s many laneways blanching at the prices of tea.

Do visit his blog to read more write-ups: www.scratchesandscribbles.com


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 We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves By Karen Joy Fowler

Published 30th May, 2015, by G.P. Putnam’s Sons

ISBN 0399162097 (ISBN13: 9780399162091)

310 pages

Man Booker Prize Nominee (2014)Nebula Award Nominee for Best Novel (2013)PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction (2014),California Book Award Gold Medal for Fiction (2013)John W. Campbell Memorial Award Nominee (2014)

Specsavers National Book Award for International Author of the Year (2014)

“In the phrase ‘ human being,’ the word ‘being’ is much more important than the word ‘human.’ ”

Imagine if your father operated your childhood as a social experiment. That is the life of the younger Rosemary Cooke, a life of the apathetic notes and scientific assertions. Now older, her twin sister, Fern has disappeared and her older brother, Lowell, has run away – leaving her with only her mother and father. Weeks after having finished the novel, I still stare at its cover and her voice still echoes with her grief.

Awkward and lonely, Rosemary hides from many things in life, but she doesn’t shy away from everything – and it’s with this determination, that she won’t lose her parents, or herself too.

Author of the 2004 critically acclaimed Jane Austen Book Club, now a film, Karen Fowler has again brought to us a modern work of art.Interspersed with her natural charm, Rosemary Cooke makes for an endearing protagonist. With such talent that couldn’t be done otherwise, she comes too readers as isolated, and then ordinary – and suddenly she leaves you unique and profound. Now older, her voice she echoes with youthful jubilance, and her intelligence and wit leaves you with observations that you can take with you for life.

It’s this complexity –Rosemary’s voice and Fowler’s skill that reshapes your typical family drama into something more relevant today. Readers would forgive the authorsdiscourse, only because it integrates so seamlessly into the structure of the narrative.

What happens when you remove the word human from human being? That’s what half the people I knoware today. Humans or beings, both aspects are important to the modern representation of humanity. Fowler’s greatest achievement is not her innovation on family drama itself – but rather how she sets about asking questions which otherwise are so heavy handed.

Ultimately, the narrative asks us to accept the reality of the world which we live, but leaves us with emotionally charged knowledge to decide our own.

 “I didn’t want a world in which I had to choose between blind human babies and tortured monkey ones… that’s the sort of choice I expect science to protect me from, not give me.”

It’s through novels like these, where we can ponder a little bit, and put the word ‘human’ back where it belongs – right beside the word ‘being’.

 

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Writing Guide

Hi Readers!

Today, I am going to introduce a series on my blog known as – The Writing Guide or TWG. This will cover my expertise as a writer and maybe, other experts to write and give you tips once I get to convince them to participate. If you are a writer and have tips to share, please get in touch with me through my contact page.

If you are as lazy as me, here is the contact detail – sucheta dot scribbles at gmail dot com

I am open to suggestions. The more the merrier.

🙂

Rabindranath Tagore : Quotes That Stay With You

“Bundesarchiv Bild 102-01073, Rabindranath Tagore” by Bundesarchiv, Bild 102-01073 / Georg Pahl / CC-BY-SA. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 de via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-01073,_Rabindranath_Tagore.jpg#/media/File:Bundesarchiv_Bild_102-01073,_Rabindranath_Tagore.jpg

Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew on the tip of a leaf.


Faith is the bird that feels the light when the dawn is still dark.


It is very simple to be happy, but it is very difficult to be simple.


I have spent my days stringing and unstringing my instrument while the song I came to sing remains unsung.


Man goes into the noisy crowd to drown his own clamor of silence.


When old words die out on the tongue, new melodies break forth from the heart; and where the old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with its wonders.

We Are Readers

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

We are readers…

There are chances you will spot us. In a park, on a bench.

At the cafeteria, probably by a window.  In the tube/sub or at a quaint little street.

On rooftops in the setting sun. On rooftops in the rising sun.

In transit from one continent to another – airport lounges and mid air.

At bookstores, catching a whiff. Fillings carts with books and filling lungs with the smell of books.

In libraries, amidst our kith and kin – having lived similar lives, embarked on similar journeys through stories.

We also hide books within books to let not the world know we are ‘UP TO SOMETHING‘.

Strain eyes to read under sheets with a torch. Take our books everywhere. Even the loo.

Raise your hand, if you are a reader too!

Guestpost: It’s A Steal (for The Earrings Project)

Here is one of my first guestposts to be published 🙂

It’s A Steal

And no it isn’t about my Kleptomaniacal tendencies!!!! 😉  It is about me and my bonding with…Earrings!!! Along with my collection – some if it 🙂

The Earrings Project is a lovely blog and I randomly came across it. Read it and you will know how charming a blog can get. If you get a chance, write for the Earrings Project. They need stories. Of mine and yours.

11 Reasons Why I Haven’t Read The Game Of Thrones Books Yet!

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Game Of Thrones.

I have been following the series since the past 1.5 years and I am crazy about it.

I must confess that the last time any series had so much of an impact on me was 15 years ago – and it was the Harry Potter series. But I had read the books first and then saw the movies during my Harry Potter stage. This time, it is completely different. I have NOT read the books of ASOIAF or A Song Of Ice And Fire series.

I know, I know. I can see some raised eyebrows there. I do have my reasons though.

  1. I can visualize everything just the way the HBO series has made me visualisze. Lack of imagination makes every line a tad bit lengthy.
  2. The pace. The pace. The series shows time passing in a whiff. But the books…not so much. This forms the base of my next point.
  3. GRRM writes slow. I respect him and I understand it is not easy. However, it doesn’t help my cause. I can’t wait that long. When I start a series, I want to wrap it up soonish. This is not going to happen with ASIOAF.
  4. If I purchase the books – physical books, I need to have the whole set. Buying five books in some edition and then the other two in “I Don’t Know What Happened To Good Cover Designers” is not something I am keen on.
  5. The books and the series have major differences. I don’t want to cringe and get shocks every other day!
  6. Every time I open the book, some or the other work comes up. I mean it. It is jinxed – the book. I have borrowed the first one from a friend.
  7. If I do start reading the book, I bet I will not stop. It happened with Harry Potter. I stayed up all night with a torch and a blanket and completed 3 books in a row for 3 days straight. Eating was out of question as well. But that was student life. Now I have to juggle so many things such as a full-time job and this blog. I rarely have spare time.
  8. I constantly keep comparing GOT to other fantasy series. I have called Ned Stark Boromir for a long long time. Walder Frey will always be Mr. Filch.
  9. I know it in my bones that I will like a character immensely only to find that he/she is dead in the HBO series. (Alive and kicking in the books though)
  10. Because of this guy – http://patricksponaugle.com/. He writes some freaking awesome GOT posts and I need no books for it. He is going to write posts on – Defense of Olly. AM EXCITED!
  11. I am not affected by Spoilers so I have read a lot about the series and have at least some kind of knowledge.

Is there a famous book you have not read but want to read it desperately?

A Quick Note Of Thanks…

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

To books and reading – my inspiration.

To booklovers like me or even better and more well-read.

To all my readers, for visiting the blog and giving me honest opinions.

To all the authors, for trusting me to feature them through interviews

To all the fellow bloggers who willingly participated in Reader’s Nook (with gunpoint to their head 😛 )

To everyone who has given me feedbacks and motivated me. This includes some of my close friends.

I am really happy with the response and more so, with the interactions I have had in the past few weeks with you all.

THANK YOU. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Guestpost: Happiness is part of the Self by Erika

Prologue: First of all I want to pass on a big, big hug to Sucheta for inviting me not only for an interview on her blog but also for this guest post. It came to me out of the blue and I feel honored I was considered. Feel strongly hugged again, Sucheta!

My book I’m Free – Awareness of Who You Are by Discovering Who You Are Not!Is a guide from fear, self-doubt, and misunderstandings accumulated over a life time to awareness, clarity, and a conscious reconnecting with the powerful and creative spirit we are. When we feel this connection, we have access to unlimited possibilities in order to live the life we always dreamed of. Happiness  – real solid happiness– results from it. I thought this might be an interesting topic for this guest post. I hope you enjoy it.


Image Source: Wikimedia

Image Source: Wikimedia

Everybody wants to be happy. But still so many people believe that happiness is something they get from outside. But that’s not true.

True happiness is an aspect of our Self. We don’t need to hope for it, beg for it, or even fight for it. Don’t fight for anything. Fighting for something says that you believe in a lack. You believe that you lost something or something was taken from you. Fighting for happiness would mean that happiness is something you have to get, something you could lose, or something you are gifted with. Fighting for happiness is a conviction that you need to get it from outside.

But this whole fight is a big misunderstanding. You are created from the image of God which means you are love with everything you are. You are light and bliss into the deepest core of your being. Happiness is an inseparable part of this love. So how could you ever need to fight for happiness when it has always been part of yourself?

Let the outside world be outside and make yourself aware of who you are. You will find happiness and any empowering feeling always (and only) within you. Yes, we can be inspired by the outside world to rediscover happiness. But even then it leads us inside again where this flame has always been burning. Everything you were looking and fighting for so desperately lies within you waiting patiently for the moment to be called from its sleep. It has been never gone but only unseen because of a misunderstanding due to the belief into an illusion.

Whenever you think you had to fight for love, peace, happiness than just because you started to believe more in what you see outside of you instead of what you are always connected with, always have, and never can lose. Of course there can be events in our lives which can make us sad. But sadness is not the same like unhappiness. I was very sad when my father died, I was sad when my pets died. I was sad when I had to let go of dreams. But what kept my feet on the ground was the carpet of happiness I have been walking on. This happiness as a basic condition. It is the reason for my power and strength during sad times. Happiness is an aspect of love. Love is God and you are an aspect of God. Carrying his spark within you. Happiness is always with you.

Whatever good you have is all from God.

Whatever evil, all is from yourself.

– The Koran

In Love and Light!


I thank Erika for this lovely post. You can go through her own blog by clicking here.

 

The Mills and Boons Story of the Unexpected Kind!

NOTE: I know you all must be confused as to why I am posting old posts now? Well, these are posts from my erstwhile blog (sounds so royal) and I have had people read them last year. But to my new readers, these are fresh posts and I don’t want them to miss out on any book related posts 🙂 So I will be re-posting random blogs, which some of you might have already read.


Not very long ago, my friend visited a quaint little bookstore in Allahabad, UP. She mentioned that she was really surprised at the sight of the store selling all sorts of new and pre-owned books and that too at hefty discounts. Being a booklover bookhogger, she dashed straight towards it like a Zombie in search of brains or Vampire in search of fresh blood 😛 😉 :mrgreen:

She bought all those books that I promptly forgot the names…and talked to me animatedly over the phone like a little child clutching treasures in her hands. What she also added was this incident at the store, where a group of local chaps were circling around the store and obviously, they were not there for the books! Guess what, they ended up cornered in the “Mills and Boons section” in the store. 😛

X: Arey…yeh dekho…yeh badhiyaa books hain. Tumne padhi hai? (See the books? These are excellent. Have you read them? )

Y: Bilkul padhi hai. Badi achchi hoti hai. Main aksar khareedta rehta hu yehi se.(Of course I have! These are awesome. I keep on buying them from this store)

X: Haan…yeh wali “insert any M&B book name”. Yeh badhiya hai. (yes..this one..this is great!)

Y: Bilkul. Aur yeh bhi. (yes..and this one as well) picks up another one from the counter 

My friend and another girl were by this time making payments to the shopkeeper. Both of them glanced at one another and could barely suppress the fits of laughter. Because they knew that obviously, the guys had no clue about M&B and it was doubtful that whether they had read any other book as well!

Suddenly,  the other girl spoke up – loudly, so that the “booklovers” could hear her.

“Nice books na…? Girls read them a lot but the numbers are dwindling day by day!!”

To which, my friend replied (with a fictional answer made on the spot) “Yeah…my fifteen year old niece is a die-hard fan. I recently bought some for her.” (her niece is a toddler of barely two years 😛 )

The store keeper couldn’t resist laughing out loudly and the chaps…they quietly moved away from the M&B section and eventually fled the store. 😀

Things that people do for making an impression on strangers !! 😉

P.S. I do not want to state that M&B reading is a girly thing or that guys can’t read it, through the post. It is just to highlight what happens a lot around us in the name of “being cool” or to “impress” chicks 😛

The Fangirl Tag

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

I came across this lovely blog of Kayleigh and I am all up for her Fangirl Tag. So, here I go ahead with the tag. Enjoy the read and feel free to use the tag and post 🙂


1. First Person I ever obsessed over?

I think it must be Alan Rickman. He was so perfect as Snape. A role, he carried out with great elan.

2. Current obsession?

Marvel’s Daredevil is my current obsession. It is just so sleek. I love the concept totally.

3. Favourite band?

Nothing specific. I listen to very few songs to be honest. I like Paramore, Linkin Park, Snow Patrol, The Rasmus etc. to name a few.

4. Favourite singer?

I have a lot of favourites. Currently, I love Agnes Obel for singing the Riverside. I also love Katy Perry, she is just different and recently, I listened to Rose Lambert’s Secrets and have been a fan ever since 🙂

5. Favourite YouTuber?

No one in particular. I use YouTube for reliving my childhood in the 90’s 🙂

6. First concert?

A college fest. That’s it. Not a fan of crowdy places.

7. Favourite movie?

There are so many……gah! I will name a few.

Hachiko

Freaky Friday

The Conjuring

Rang De Basanti

Maid of Honor

and the list will go on….and on…. 😉

8. Favourite actor/actress?

Irfan Khan and Chris Pratt and Tom Hiddleston and Jim Parsons and Benedict Cumberbatch and Michael Huisman and Kit Harington and Pedro Pascal…

Lena Headley and Kaley Cucco and Rose Leslie…..

This has to stop. I like a lot of people. :-p

9. First celebrity crush?

No one in particular. I loved Launchpad though. From Ducktales. Because he is just so awwwwww-dorable 😀

10. Ever got made fun of for what I like?

Yes. But then, people have their choices and I have mine. I don’t mind really.

11. Favourite book?

A Thousand Splendid Suns and Harry Potter Series. The two frontrunners of a huge list.

12. Favourite TV show?

Game Of Thrones and Grey’s Anatomy. I also love Full House. And also, a huge fan of Big Bang Theory!

13. Favourite fictional character?

Fred and George. Period.

All characters from GOT.

14. Something I love about a fandom I’m in?

Dragons. Direwolves. Dorne. I love these in Game of Thrones. It is very interesting a series and I can’t get enough of it.

15. Something I hate about a fandom I’m in?

Game of Thrones – Almost everyone gets killed. 😦

16. Would you ever take a bullet for the people I fangirl over?

No. Plain no. 😉 I want to live my life and enter more fandoms 🙂

17. Do I ever hide the fact that I like someone out of fear of getting teased?

No. Everyone knows who I Fangirl over 🙂

18. Have I ever met any of my idols?

Hell no 😦 But I would want to!!

19. Do I have any merchandise of the people I fangirl over?

A few. Not of people, but series. I often give them away to friends who would want them more.

20. Favourite fangirl moment?

Everytime I flip through a book I love or watch a show online and on TV, I have my fangirl moment. 🙂

Twitter Trend #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

I got a ping from a co-worker about this new Twitter trend- #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter.

I jumped the bandwagon because…I am a writer and I have a say in this. When I went on to Tweet my opinion(s), I found there were already many known and unknown (to me) writers, who had some of the most amazing and witty 140 characters published online.

This is what I vented.

These are what others had to say:

#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter “It must be nice making money at a hobby.”

— Melodie Ramone (@Melodie_Ramone)


“I’m sure writing it won’t take longer than 30 minutes.”#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

— Mina V. Esguerra (@minavesguerra) 


Are you a writer? I hope your spouse earns well.


Told a teen I write YA. She hadn’t heard of me. Said, “It would have been so cool if you were Suzanne Collins!”


“You’re pretty good. You should try writing something serious.”


What’s your backup career plan? I hear your industry is dying


Have I ever heard of you?


“But are you, like, a REAL writer?”


“Can I be in your novel?” You probably are. You’re the one who dies horribly.


“You’re lucky you don’t have to work.”


“I have a great idea for a book. I just have to write it down.”


“I would totally write a novel if I had as much free time as you do. I have so many ideas.”


You know what you should write about? I have the best idea for you.


Oh, you write? I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’m too busy doing (insert “important” thing here), though.


I really like your work! Will you write for us? Oh, we don’t pay


Isn’t EVERYONE a writer, essentially?


When I retire I’m going to write a book, too.


My life is a film, you should write it. #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter

— Nia Vardalos (@NiaVardalos) 


#TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter “I don’t understand why your house is so messy. You have so much free time.”

— Melodie Ramone (@Melodie_Ramone)


“oh my husband’s half-brother’s cousin’s cat writes poems, maybe you guys can collaborate” #TenThingsNotToSayToAWriter


Can you get me published?


Give us writers a break please. We need no such gems coming being showered from all directions. Thankyou very much.

Guestpost: Never Letting Go by Adi (The Happy Lifeaholic)

Prologue: There are some books, which refuse to fade from our memories, no matter how hard we may try. Most of such books are classics and it will not be surprising if they have been passed down thorough several generations. As the very first post of my guestblogs, I present Adi, who is a talented young gun having her blog called The Happy Lifeaholic.


Never Letting Go

Once upon a time Adi used to be an avid reader. I was the kid who read through math and physics classes. I walked into walls because I was so intent on whatever book had caught by imagination on that day. I wrote a book report on The Merchant of Venice (an abridged version) in Grade 3 while my classmates were still on fairy tales. I also managed to ruin my eyes at the tender age of 9, all because I would stay up past “lights out”, reading by the diffused beams of a streetlight filtering in through the curtains of my room. I loved books. Even the word “loved” sounds like an understatement!

But alongside all the abridged classics that I wolfed down as a kid, were books by an author who I grew to love over the years. Dame Enid Blyton wrote books like no other. She wrote stories of mysteries, and of school kids and of escapades and treasure hunts. She was an English writer (as if Dame didn’t give that away) and her books have been bestsellers since the 1930s. According to my trusty friend, Wikipedia, she’s since sold over 600 million copies of her books, and has had them translated into over 90 languages! Of those 600 million books, I probably own about 50.

Part of my humble collection:

image001

These are only some of the books that I chose to bring back to Oman with me.

My relationship with Dame Blyton started long before I started reading any of her books – it started with a series of her books that was made into a television show that eventually got dubbed into a very obnoxious Hindi version that would make its round on Saturday morning television channels in India. That’s right, folks! I’m referring to the wooden wonder boy from Toyland – Noddy!

For years I didn’t realize that the series was but another one of Enid Blyton’s works, and trust me, I watched that show for yeeeeaaaars. At some point mom bought me all the books as well, so that’s 24 Enid Blyton books right there.

Enid Blyton is today, most remembered for series such as Famous Five and Secret Seven – both juvenile detective series, featuring (as the names suggest) five and seven kids, respectively, solving crimes and getting into all sorts of shenanigans. Those books were, and still are, widely read across India – and I remember those being some of the most borrowed books in our school and local libraries among kids from my age group, right alongside all the Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys books. The books really were a hoot – all the adventure kids could ever dream of, and E.B’s writing was always very simple to understand and yet, she had a way with words. She never really used flowery language, but she described everything perfectly. In fact, I blame her for my longtime obsession with wanting to become a detective. Once I was a little older, TV shows like NCIS etc did nothing to lessen that obsession.

My favorite E.B books, however, were her comparatively less famous ones –  The Naughtiest Girl series, St. Claire’s and Mallory Towers series. All three are boarding school series, and now that I think about it, perhaps that is why they weren’t as popular. I remember that when my friends and I were young, sending a kid off to boarding school was the ultimate punishment – India’s take on the boogyman scare, if you will. I think it still is.

image003

[2 books from the Mallory Towers Series]

 

Enid Blyton, however, corrupted my vision of boarding schools completely. Thanks to her, I grew up thinking of boarding schools as places where you made friends for life, woke up at midnight to throw secret dinner parties where you wolfed down ginger ale with the other gals in your dorm, and where you pranked your professors and went skinny-dipping in the lake at 2am. Hell, she made boarding school sound so exciting that I was probably the only kind I knew who actually used to beg her family to send her to boarding school! I literally used to dream of going to boarding school at a time when over-dramatic India movies and TV serials would show families breaking up over the decision of sending a child to boarding school. Oh the shame! And there I was, begging to go.

image005

[A few books from the St. Claire’s series]

I remember almost joining a boarding school in 8th grade, when we’d just moved back from Oman – I was set on the place till they asked some personal questions in the interview that I didn’t think they needed to know, and eventually that made me cut the school out of my future plans. It was a blow, though, to know that I had been so close to living that childhood dream, attending an elite and expensive boarding school nestled in the Sahyadri Hills of Pune, hobnobbing with A and B list Bollywood kids.

image008

[courtesy: Sahyadri School website]

Ah to think that I could have gone trekking, swimming and skinny dipping with views like this:

image009

[courtesy: Sahyadri School website]

But that’s alright. I went right back to E.B’s books, and read and re-read them till I knew all the stories backwards. The girls in all those books were the sisters I never had while growing up. They were my imaginary friends and confidants rolled in one, and the time I invested in those books were both satisfying and exciting.

Of the 3 series, the ones I’ve re-read the most are from the Naughtiest Girl series – a title that I had proudly earned myself early in my school life. It was exciting to read the adventures of my literary partner-in-crime, and many a time, I borrowed a page out of her escapades to implement in my life. I literally used to get invited to birthday parties so that parents could “see who the naughtiest girl in school was.”

image012

[My much loved Naughtiest Girl series]

Elizabeth was the sister I never had, and a lot of my childhood was spent delighting in her mis-adventures, and holding imaginary conversations with her. And yet, when I try and write about her per se, the words that spring to mind aren’t descriptive enough! But perhaps some things are better left to the imagination…

Did you have a favourite character or book when you were young?

THE SECRET LIFE OF A BOOK BLOGGER BOOK TAG

Ojitosperle tagged me for the Secret Life Of A Book Blogger Book tag. And here I go with all the answers. 😉

How long have you been a blogger?

Its been a little over a year since I started blogging. Earlier, I used to blog about everything under the sun. But now, my focus is mainly on books and reading.

At what point do you think you will stop?

When there are no more books in the world 😛 And that is never going to happen. So….NEVER 😉

What is the best thing?

Meeting other likeminded fellows who are as passionate as I am about books and reading or other things in life.

What is the worst thing? What do you do to make it okay?

Worst part is to make time for my blog. I really am short of time and posting regularly doesn’t come easy 😦

How long does it take you to create/find pictures to use?

A minute. I know what I want and I get it easily.

Who is your book crush?

Michael from The Princess Diaries books and Fred and George from Harry Potter series. ❤

What author would you like to have on your blog?

J.K.Rowling, Jeffrey Archer and Jhumpa Lahiri. Though, I would love to feature all authors on my blog. Greedy me 😛

What do you wear when you write your blog posts?

In Halloween costume 😛 BWAHAHAH

How long does it take you to prepare?

I don’t prepare. I blog on an instinct. But with Guestposts, I have to prepare a lot. *something is in the pipeline*

How do you feel about the book blogger community/culture?

I am just exploring it bit by bit and loving everything!

What do you think one should do to get a successful blog?

Don’t hold yourself back. 🙂

Who do you tag?

I will tag Adi 🙂

Oh The Places You Will Go – Tips For Reading While You Travel

Image Source: Pinterest

Image Source: Pinterest

Travel.
Travel is a magic-entwined word. With every journey, you become a little poorer but way richer. You carry back not just the memories associated with a place, its people and everything in between, but also its smell and that requires no extra bag and baggage!

Although I am not much of a traveler, I have had my fair share of reading experiences when I did travel in life. Let me share some of the tips with you today.

  • Pack light. This is THE word, you will find in all the tips related to travel and I make no exception. Pack light also means that you need to pack some light books to read on the go. No hard covers. No heavy GSMs. Lightweight books will be your best companions.
  • Calculate the time you will spend reading. If you are going abroad and spend most of the time sightseeing or collecting souvenirs, then there is no point taking along a 700 page book of some award-winning novel. It is going to fail for all you know. Unless, you are a speedy little mercury when it comes to reading and can polish off a good novel in your flights/ transition. If not, then take along a book that you know you can complete during your travel.
  • Cover your book with a wrapping paper/newspaper. I find this tip very handy, especially when I travel alone. There are pesky strangers at all places, who want to strike up a conversation such as “Hey, you are reading so and so book…” I do not tolerate small talk like this. So, before I pack my book(s), I cover them up with a paper and read on without any interruptions. Haah! 😉
  • Have extra bookmarks on you. I keep losing bookmarks when I am on the go. So, as an alternative I keep more than two bookmarks with me and use them during my travels. I also use ticket stubs as bookmarks, in case of an emergency. Bills are another alternative, if you do not intend to preserve them that is. 🙂
  • Read 5 pages of a book before packing it. Strange tip. I know. But it prevents you from carrying books which you will get fed up of reading midway and then end up getting stuck with nothing to read! Frustrations galore. Else, you can always carry two books at least, to have a backup.
  • Write your name, number and address on the first page of the book. Even if you lose the book in a strange land, there will be chances that the book will find its way to you. 🙂 This way, you will lessen the chances of losing a book that you borrowed from a library or a friend (in this case, write the details with a pencil).

These are my travel+reading tips. What are yours?

More Questions On My Way :D

Like I always say,  it does no harm in answering questions thrown at you, here is a set of questions asked by Uma, who blogs here.

One favorite Movie/Book Character you would like to turn ?

The very studious Hermione Granger. Nuff said. 🙂

Your Craziest Obsession?

Dogs. I ogle at them. Even the stray ones.

What is your fantasy like ?

To walk into this room full of books and never come out of it again.

If you had a chance to confess something,what would that be ?

I really don’t like people with a pathetic sense of humor and I only laugh at their jokes so that they don’t feel bad.

Your favorite Comfort Food ?

Papdi Nu Lote or Kheechu (Basically a rice powder thingy from Gujarat)

Your Dream Travel Location ? ( Other than Paris !!)

Greece. Without a doubt.

What is Blogging for you ?

It is a way of life. It has been a year and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.

What is the most important ethics you follow while you blog?

Keeping the language ‘clean’ despite the urge to hurl expletives every now and then 😛

That first thing you do when you log into your Computer/Internet?

I check my Goodreads account.

When was the last time you laughed out loud ! ( I mean the real LOL Moment)

Yesterday! I was laughing at a friend’s pronunciation of a recently released movie 🙂

14 Lessons That I Picked Up From My Copywriting Course

I have been busy pursuing a short term copy writing course in my city. The idea was to refresh my knowledge and to learn something new. I am almost about to wrap up the course and I want to share some key takeaways, mostly the quotes by David Ogilvy, which have inspired me.

  1. The best ideas come as jokes. Make your thinking as funny as possible. David Ogilvy
  2. Talent, I believe, is most likely to be found among nonconformists, dissenters, and rebels. David Ogilvy
  3. On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar. – David Ogilvy
  4. When you reach for the stars, you might not quite get one, but you won’t come up with a handful of mud either. – Leo Burnett
  5. Resist the usual. – Raymond Rubicam
  6. Sometimes the most important job advertising can do, is to clarify the obvious. Jay Chiat
  7. A word after a word after a word is power. — Margaret Atwood
  8. The client will always pick the concept that you like the least, so never present any concepts you don’t like – Robert Fleege
  9. Any copy that runs on a billboard should fit on the back of a business card. – John Pavao, Clearchannel Outdoor
  10. Copy is a direct conversation with the consumer.  – Shirley Polykoff
  11. The first draft of anything is shit. —Ernest Hemingway
  12. The most powerful element in advertising is the truth. – William Bernbach
  13. Early to bed, early to rise. Work like hell and advertise. – Ted Turner
  14. Nobody reads ads. People read what interests them. Sometimes it’s an ad. – Howard Gossage

Book Tag: The Coffee Book Tag

Now that we are on the topic of coffee (see my last post), I thought why not let me take up this Book tag. I came across this on THIS blog. Feel free to take up the tag and blog about it, like I have.

Black: Name a series that’s tough to get into but has hardcore fans

The Lord of The Rings. I still am finding my way into it.

Peppermint Mocha: Name a book that gets more popular during the winter or a festive time of year.

No idea. But maybe, its the bestsellers here in India.

Hot Chocolate: What is your favorite children’s book?

All works by Enid Blyton. They taste like my childhood.

Double Shot of Espresso: Name a book that kept you on the edge of your seat from start to finish.

The Da Vinci Code. I can’t even describe how thrilling the book was.

Starbucks: Name a book you see everywhere.

Meluha. Meluha everywhere.

That Hipster Coffee Shop: Give a book by an indie author a shout-out.

Umm…no idea what is that. I skip.

Oops! I accidentally got decaf: Name a book you were expecting more from.

The House That BJ Built. One can’t simply have too much of Anuja Chauhan’s awesome humor.

The Perfect Blend: Name a book or series that was both bitter and sweet, but ultimately satisfying.

That would be – Bridge to Terabithia. Odd book.

Green Tea: Name a book or series that’s quietly beautiful.

The secret garden. It has a different charm altogether.

Chai Tea: Name a book or series that makes you dream of far-off places.

Guys, Chai is the Hindi word for Tea. Chai and Tea are basically the same thing. Ugh…this makes me squirm. I digress.

A song of Ice and Fire series makes me dream of Westeros and the lands around. I am not into the books – yet. But have read most about it on wikia. Harry Potter too. I believe in Hogwarts 😛

Earl Grey: Name your favorite classic.

The Diary of Anne Frank. Period.

Coffee Love

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

Coffee and I do not go a long way back.

I must have had my first cup of instant coffee at a friend’s home in 1999-2000, when I was erm…not even a teenager. To me, it tasted like a regular malt drink mix like Cadbury’s Bournvita or Boost only a little less on the sweet quotient. It was frothy, milky and back then, I did not share the imaginary lactose intolerance. That is how, I found coffee or rather coffee found me.

The second, third and consecutive cups I have no memories of. All that I know and remember is that when I was in grade 9, I had a lot of study pressure. To score the best marks, to be ahead of everyone in the class in every subject. That is when I took to coffee seriously.

We have instant coffee variants here in India, which are easy to get from local shops and easier to make. So, we would get packets of Sunrise, Nescafe and later on, Bru. I would sit and do my homework or study for the toughest tests sipping my way to the bottom of the cup. To be honest, it was mom who made the coffee for me. I couldn’t even boil water to save my life back then.


Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

Grade 10-12, I was a certified coffee drinker. When asked for my choice of beverage at people’s homes, I would always raise my hands for a cup of coffee. It was coffee or nothing. I also developed a liking for a particular brand of coffee – Bru. It was milder, yummier and nothing tasted better than a hot steaming cup of Bru coffee right on my study table. I would often drink coffee with my favourite Tomato grilled sandwich.

However, I was not addicted to the drink. It just refreshed me, gave me energy to sustain the tough level of studies. Since I had a full on acrimonious relationship with milk, my coffee would be less milk and more water. I also had this method of preparing instant coffee – beat the sugar, coffee and little milk to a creamy paste and then pouring the piping hot mix of milk and water right into it. It formed a beautiful color and froth at the surface of the cup, which I looked at in awe every single time.

My tryst with coffee continued for a better part of my college life as well. I would drink it to stay awake for my project work and for my exams. I didn’t drink it in the mornings though, being a Breakfast Skipper. I needed my cuppa at night. Coffee also kept me company when I went through pages of my books.

It was college, time on hand and friends, which led me to Cafe culture, which was blooming in India and in my town. I was introduced to Capuccino, Mocha, Late, Frappe and the likes. But what really did impact me was cold coffee. I would love to have it day in and night out. I learnt how to make it at home and the hot coffee cup was now, only for winters or rainy days. I had met my soulmate in the cold version of coffee.

Quick fact: I also love every possible coffee flavored ice cream. Om nom nom.


Today, there are a lot of cafes that serve lovely coffee of my choice. These are the places where I have held many a meeting for work and hanged out with friends. Yes, they are bit overpriced. But then, you get to loiter around in the cafes for as many hours as you want, with the price of one cup or maybe two.

Also, I went to Chennai last year and for the first time in life, I was in a place that had more coffee drinkers than tea. I happily had their very famous Filter Kaapi served piping hot in stainless steel tumblers. I wish the culture finds its way to Western part of India too, where I reside.

Recently, I have taken a liking to iced tea. Still, it is coffee that creates magic in my life. ❤

Book Tag: Would You Rather

Image Source: Pixabay

Image Source: Pixabay

So, I got to know of this fun, difficult and insanely cruel tag – Would You Rather book tag, from The Reading Hufflepuff. I nominate anyone and every one who wants to enter the challenge. It is an open invite. Meanwhile, you can go through my answers.

1) Would you rather… Drop your favourite book into the toilet OR watch it fall into a wood chipper?

In a toilet….errm…..it can be retrieved, dried. Saved at the very least.

2) Would you rather… Read only 1 book a year but remember everything OR read 100 books a year but remember nothing?

Read 100 books a year and remember nothing. In fact, I remember nothing after finishing a book. Well, most of the books. So, yeah.

3) Would you rather… Read only the first page of a book OR read only the last page of a book?

The last page. The excitement is all in the last page.

4) Would you rather get locked in a library OR get locked in a bookstore?

I would rather get locked in a bookstore. Because I would get to experience many new books firsthand. rubs hands in glee

5) Would you rather… Drop your book in a lake OR accidentally set it on fire?

Do neither. But accidental fire it is. I can’t jump in a lake, but I can put out the fire and still save it.

6) Would you rather… Read a book with a cliffhanger ending OR read a book with a heartbreaking ending?

A book with a heartbreaking ending. Bring it on!

7) Would you rather… Have the book’s ending spoiled OR never know what happens?

Spoilers have NEVER affected me. So, having the book’s ending spoiled is okay with me.

8) Would you rather… read only one genre forever OR never repeat the same genre after reading it once?

I love the genres I read. I will definitely settle for reading only one genre forever.

9) Would you rather… Read a book where the main character is killed off OR read a book where the love interest is killed off?

Killing off characters is a part of the plot. I wouldn’t care anyway. Maybe temporarily, but not for long. I am okay with both. But would rather stick to – where the love interest is killed off.

10) Would you rather… Read a book that’s missing the middle chapter OR read a book that’s missing the first and last chapters?

I have read a book with missing middle chapters. Smooth sailing.

11) Would you rather… love a book everyone hates OR hate a book everyone loves

Hate a book everyone loves. Period.

12) Would you rather… loan a book to a friend who’s known to ruin books OR drop a book in a pit of snakes?

Drop it in a pit of snakes. Snakes will not ruin my books at least!

13) Would you rather…. Be stuck on a deserted island without a book OR be stuck in a library full of books in a language you can’t read

Library full of books. The experience matters of course. Plus, I can always go through the picture books.

14) Would you rather… Bring only 1 book on a 12 hour flight OR bring an e-reader with only 10% left on a 4 hour flight?

Bring a book on a 12 hour long flight. I will take my own slow time to read it.

15) Would you rather… Find out your best friend hates your favourite book OR share a favourite book with your worst enemy?

Share a favourite book with my worst enemy sounds better. I can anyway make my bestie love the book.

These are my answers. I wonder what yours will be? 🙂

How I Evaded my Homework!!

I have a confession to make. On a public platform, yes.

You might have already guessed it by the spoilery headline and here I go.

I was always a good student. The one who got the great grades, tried to obey teachers and toe the line. Tried to stay away from mischief (but mischief would always come running towards me with open arms). Gave all the answers in class like Hermione. Apart from getting chided from the teachers, my only unforgivable sin was – Not completing my homework.

Having been a teacher in the early part of my career, I know and I understand the importance of revising lessons at home. But try telling that to a student and he/she will look like you are taking away their basic rights!

Me for instance, hated opening my books as soon as I reached home. My mother used to help me study till I was in grade 1. Grade 2 onwards, I was completely independent and that is when I started taking liberties with my homework.


Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Well, it is not like I had no inclination towards studies. I loved school. I wanted to go to a school as soon as I started speaking. Other children packed in school vans and buses in neat uniforms and bags made me green with envy. The day I joined school was the best day of my life. But then, the monster called Homework ruined it for me.

While I loved doing my English homework and to an extent my Science homework, I loathed other subjects especially Maths. I somehow managed to wrap it all up before going to play with my buddies. But then, not everyone had the same schedule. They all were more lazy bums and took longer time to complete theirs. As such, I got very less time to spend playing outdoors with them.

I also hated the fact that every year, with a new academic session, the pile of homework seemed to increase steeply. I could literally feel myself sweating with all the pressure. Homework did not allow me to enjoy my summer, autumn and winter holidays, which I would usually spend at my relatives’. Homework kept me exercising my grey matter when all I wanted was to play and read my story books and novels. Homework made me cut down my TV timings and it cut down the time I could spend in the company of guests, who frequented my home.

Homework was Voldemort to me. Homework was The White Walkers. Homework was the Disease. I hated it with all my might.


Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

I had a nice study table. With drawers of course. The drawers had comics, children’s magazines and my beloved novels and drawing supplies. So all the while I was supposed to be sitting and completing my homework, I was having a whale of time procrastinating with reading. Cheating on my textbooks with fictional tales of weird looking comic characters or learning who was Elizabeth Bennett interested in.

By grade 7th, I was a pro in procrastinating. I was a pro in not doing my homework. Or doing maybe the half of it and completing the other half in between all the lectures I had the next day at school. I would do my Maths homework in English class, Social Science in Hindi and Sanskrit in Social Science. Wasn’t I a great multitasker? I was indeed. And an ace actress!!  And Friday was my favorite day of the week. Because – NO HOMEWORK for two days at a stretch.

By 9th grade, I had a whale of time evading all the homework. I had a best friend who would be my partner in crime. We hated the same subjects and loved the same ones. So we would roll up our sleeves and utilize the time before morning assembly to rapidly finish the homework. It was the last moment thing and completing it in time gave us an adrenaline rush.

Many a times, we were bold and did not complete the homework. But because we were the class toppers, teachers were very lenient with us. Also, because our names started with an alphabet that falls way behind other names, we escaped the first batch of ‘notebook corrections’ and that bought us more time and more relief. Also, we were pro in English and good with words. That made us experts in elaborating what could have been written in 3 lines to 7 lines and shortening 7 lines to 3 lines. Such bliss.

We did get punished sometimes- when the teachers were atrocious and vile and just couldn’t understand why we didn’t submit our work dot on time, even though our classwork was the best in the history of the entire school.

A very funny incident that I ought to share here is that we were always ahead of the class in English. Our English work shone and sparkled bright. Neat handwriting and all that. The teacher knew us well and was very fond of us both. He was strict with homework, but we didn’t have to worry. We were super duper efficient. Always completed the homework before the bell rang for the school to get over. He used to smack others on hand with wooden ruler (not very hard, just as a punishment). Once the entire class got the punishment except us two. The very next week, we both genuinely forgot our English homework for some valid reason. The whole class was shocked! The teacher was shocked too.

He knew ours was a genuine reason and asked the whole class, should he forgo our mistake for once? The classmates knew us and we were popular, so they said No in unison. There was giggles…and we couldn’t stop giggling ourselves. The teacher said, rules are rules and punishment is the same for one and for all. We accepted it as well. But what was more hilarious is that he was shaking with laughter as the ruler came down on my palm and my friend’s the next. It was as if we had won a prize or something. We had smiles on our face 😛


This was the core of my homework story. Have a similar experience to share? I would love to listen 🙂