I Never Read Non-Fiction, Almost…

Non-fiction is the dark sheep of my reading expeditions. Biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, self-help books etc. are never picked up by me from the shelves, apart from gifting purposes.

Not that I never tried reading them, or haven’t ever read them. But beyond a few pages, I start yawning and can’t seem to focus. My heart and soul wanders away and I long to pick up a work of fiction as soon as possible.

Such is my condition.

Till date, the only non-fiction works that I read (and remember) are :

  • You Can Win by Shiv Khera
  • Who Moved My Cheese
  • The Diary Of Anne Frank (Read it numerous time)
  • Timepass by Protima Bedi
  • Letters from a father to a daughter
  • Ogilvy on Advertising

And I guess that’s all.

I am still figuring out the WHY of non-fiction aversion. And I have concluded that it is because of the fact –

  • If I can learn it from a story, why read someone else’s account?
  • Self-help never motivates me and I find it to be a bit “preachy”. I don’t like being “preached”.
  • I feel lost. Every single time I pick up a non-fiction work. Sometimes, I feel I am losing my identity and questioning everything when I read excerpts. Whereas, I am overall a very optimistic person who never compares and contrasts her life with others. So, no.
  • I can’t visualise anything when I read a work of non-fiction! I can’t imagine a scenario where person X and person Y meet at an office and then person Y becomes the bigshot and blah. No. Not happening. Give me names! Give me imaginary setups please.

Having said that, I believe that I have learnt more from Harry Potter or The Sisterhood of The Traveling Pants than from a Men are from Mars. I learn more from Jodi Picoult and Jhumpa Lahiri than the who’s who of non-fiction world.

I know I am biased, but this is how I function. Hopefully, I do aim to read more non-fiction in the coming days (one book is already shortlisted), but I am not promising that I won’t wander off! 😉

What about your equation with non-fiction works? Suggestions are most welcome.

 

 

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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 😛

My Childhood Was Shaped By Enid Blyton

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.

Image Source: Wikipedia

Image Source: Wikipedia

The day I started blogging on WordPress, I have been meaning to write about Enid Blyton. The famous English children’s author was introduced to be by a dear friend. She gifted me a book of stories and then the Enchanted Wood – the first book in the Faraway Tree series. Two books were not enough to satiate the budding reader in me. I yearned for more and more. I borrowed them from friends, libraries, bought them and did whatever it took to absorb the finesse with which she used to write the books.

My British vocabulary developed rapidly and I was always confused as to why people around me did not speak in the same English as to what I read in the books! Why Dinner was not Supper  and how come little kids were packed Tea for picnic!! Also, why Cross was a word used instead of Angry? Why why why? It was quite a hilarious affair, now that I look back at it 😀

I loved to read her St.Clare’s and Malory Tower series. Based on boarding schools, these books made me value my friends, school and teachers even more. I laughed with the books and I was immensely inspired to work hard like the girls did, to come up with good grades year after year. I also loved her Five Find Outers series more than the cliched Famous Five or Secret Seven!

Image Source: Flickr

Image Source: Flickr

Even now, when I visit bookstores, I discreetly comb through the kids section to check out some of her work and give a quite hi5 to the child in me 😀 It is really soothing to touch the spines of books in person although the new editions make me cringe!

I am really sorry for the children who miss out on her epic collection and stay afar from the joy of reading one of the purest forms of children’s literature. I am sure that there are parents, uncles and aunts and even teachers, who keep the tradition alive by introducing her work to kids. But on a large scale, many of them have no clue as to who she was.

To me, she will always be one of my first English teachers – albeit, virtually 🙂

Here is a guest post by Adi talking about her love for the author and her books.

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. ❤

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 🙂

Tasty Reading – What To Eat When You Read?

Image Source: Pinterest

Image Source: Pinterest

Admit it. We all feel hungry when we read. Especially when they describe all those elaborate feasts and picnics and brunches. Don’t we all transform into foodaholics of some kind by reading those instances? Here is what I eat when I am on a reading spree:

  • A jar of crunchy peanut butter and a smaller jar of jam. I alternate between the two. This is when I am reading fantasy novels or even watching a fantasy movie. I don’t feel like anything else. Sometimes I have Marie biscuits along with these.
  • A plate of Chicken Biryani or spicy Khichdi or noodles or one pot meals when I am reading South Asian fiction. It can also be a place of Idli-Sambhar for all you know. But Spicy is what I crave for, when I take up these books.
  • While reading diaries or non-fiction (rare instances) I tend to have lots of cold coffee or iced tea or chilled juice. Sometime accompanied by popcorn.
  • Chick lit is very special for me. I read only a few authors and I take my time to seep into every funny sentence and keel over with laughter. I can’t afford to have food, which I can spill all over when I do that 😉 So, I have a lot of packed snacks and chocolates and biscuits when I read them.
  • Sandwiches and hot brewing tea/coffee are a must when I read my Enid Blytons. There are so many mentions of them in her books that you just can’t go through the pages without eating these. Butter and Jam sandwiches are a staple and if I get the time, I make egg sandwiches.
  • I usually read books in other languages after a heavy Sunday lunch. So all I can eat at that time is lots of fresh, seasonal fruits.

What is your favourite food to go with the books you read?

I Need A Help Here….

There was this story I read in a book as a child. It was Bengali translation of World’s best stories such as The Old Man and The Sea, The Good Earth, Mother, Hunchback Of Notre Dame among others. As you might already know by now, I do not have a great memory when it comes to remembering details of any book I read. The point is, I read this wonderful story in that book. The name of the story, unfortunately I do not remember. 😦 I have turned the pages of my memory upside down and here is what I remember. Please help me out, if you can and find out the name of the story/book for me.

  • Memory 1: The story is about this man, who makes a piece of infertile land on a mountain side fertile. He toils hard, really hard.
  • Memory 2: The man has a wife, who bears him two sons.
  • Memory 3: One of the sons flees and then returns, takes his share of property/money. Other son follows the footsteps of his father and toils hard.
  • Memory 4: The currency mentioned in the book as I remember is Krones. But then, many countries have Krones as their currency.
  • Memory 5: There is a mention of a mountain, which divides two countries. This is where I went crazy because….the country can be any of the Krone using countries. Norway, Sweden, Denmark. My Geography knowledge is…..not worth mentioning here. :-/

This is going to haunt my memory a long long time. 😦 If you happen to find out any leads on this, please let me know here. If you have any friends in these countries and have the slightest chance of knowing it, pass on the message if you can..

Books That I Can Read On A Loop

“If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” – Oscar Wilde

These are some of the books that I have read till date and can read any day, without getting tired of them. The list will grow, hopefully! 🙂

  1. Harry Potter Series
  2. Enid Blyton – All books
  3. Sons of Fortune – Jeffrey ARcher
  4. A Golden Age – Tahmima Anam
  5. A Gathering Light – Jennifer Donnelly
  6. A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseini
  7. Q and A – Vikas Swaroop
  8. The Namesake – Jhumpa Lahiri
  9. Malgudi Days – R K Narayan
  10. Gently Falls The Bakula – Sudha Murthy
  11. Anandmath – Bankim Chandra Chatterjee
  12. The Animal Farm – George Orwell
  13. Train To Pakistan – Khushwant Singh
  14. Satyajit Ray Novels and Stories
  15. The Da Vinci Code
  16. Kusum
  17. To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  18. Bridge To Terabithia
  19. The Secret Garden
  20. Madhushala – Harivanshrai Bachchan
  21. Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants – Ann Brashers
  22. My Sister’s Keeper – Jodi Picoult
  23. Good Earth – Pearl S Buck
  24. The Diary Of Anne Frank