Posted in Books

Book Review: Turning Points: A Journey Through Challenges, by APJ Abdul Kalam

About the author:
APJ Abdul Kalam is one of India’s most distinguished scientists. He served as the 11th President of India, between 2002 and 2007. He was fondly referred to as “The People’s President” during his term. He has honorary doctorates from over thirty universities and is the recipient of the country’s three highest civilian awards – the Padma Bhushan, the Padma Vibhushan and the Bharat Ratna.

My thoughts on the book:
Inspiration comes in various ways. To read a book and be inspired by it is really a wonderful feeling. Over the last few days, I have had the pleasure of being inspired by few such books. Two of them were written by the man I have had the pleasure of seeing two times as well, the eleventh President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam.

The two books are two parts of his autobiography, and this book, Turning Points is the sequel to the first book, Wings of Fire.

Not that I’m comparing autobiography parts, but this was equally as good as Wings of Fire I feel. Yes, the life story of APJ might not be as endearing or understandable to us, but there are takeaways in each chapter, most certainly in the quotes that are there under the title names, and the concluding paragraph of chapters, and in the messages that are part of this book.

Take title quotes for e.g.

“Vision elevates the nation” was something that I liked. Only when you have the notion to change can you change, and some changes can elevate the nation itself. Another was “The ignited mind of the youth is the most powerful resource on the earth, above the earth, and under the earth”. It felt like he is telling us that a bright mind can move the earth.

There’s a poem in the chapter titled “Learning from others”. It is titled “What can I give?” For me, that poem was one of the highlights of the book. It asks us to share knowledge that we have, if we have resources, to share them with the needy, to use our mind and heart to bring a smile to those who need it. If we can give something, then we will be blessed.

Other things that are interesting in this book are the photos, and also the interview at the last. Again, this book isn’t something that would be appealing to all people, but I found it to be nice and worth the time.


A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book details:
Title: Turning Points
Author: APJ Abdul Kalam
Genre: Autobiography
ISBN: 978-93-5029-347-8
Publishers: Harper Collins
Price: INR. 199

 


This book is a personal copy. No payment was taken for this review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.


(Aug 3rd, 2013)

Posted in Books

Book Review: Wings of Fire, by APJ Abdul Kalam

About the author:
APJ Abdul Kalam is one of India’s most distinguished scientists. He served as the 11th President of India, between 2002 and 2007. He was fondly referred to as “The People’s President” during his term. He has honorary doctorates from over thirty universities and is the recipient of the country’s three highest civilian awards – the Padma Bhushan, the Padma Vibhushan and the Bharat Ratna.

My thoughts on the book:
Inspiration comes in various ways. To read a book and be inspired by it is really a wonderful feeling. Over the last few days, I have had the pleasure of being inspired by few such books. Two of them were written by the man I have had the pleasure of seeing two times as well, the eleventh President of India, APJ Abdul Kalam.

The two books are two parts of his autobiography, and this book, Wings of Fire is the first part.

I’m at my wits end as to how to review an autobiography, but it doesn’t feel right not to say this book is inspirational and something that needs to be read. It is a journey through leadership, through hardships, through the life of a man who inspired the nation. It shows a different perspective to things, one that we don’t usually see. The book has a lot of things that can be quoted, but I choose to share this one…

“He who knows others is learned, but the wise one is the one who knows himself. Learning without wisdom is of no use.”

I chose this particular quote because it tells me to look into understanding the person I am too, and not just look to understand others.

Another excerpt that looks into life was…

“The trouble is that we often merely analyse life instead of dealing with it. People dissect their failures for causes and effects, but seldom deal with them and gain experience to master them and thereby avoid their recurrence. This is my belief: that through difficulties and problems God gives us the opportunity to grow. So when your hopes and dreams and goals are dashed, search among the wreckage, you may find a golden opportunity hidden in the ruins.”

I have also got bogged down by failures rather than dealing with it. I guess that has stopped me from growing atleast a little bit. Maybe I failed for a reason, and that opportunity is still there. I think it’s about time I started to search for that opportunity now.

The book is inspiring, but it probably might not sound as much if you aren’t Indian. Still, there are things to take out of it.


A rating of 8/10
A rating of 8/10

Book details:
Title: Wings of Fire
Author: APJ Abdul Kalam
Genre: Autobiography
ISBN: 978-81-7371-146-6
Publishers: Universities Press
Price: INR. 275

 


This book is a personal copy. No payment was taken for this review.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with
1) First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws
2) Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.


(Aug 3rd, 2013)

Posted in Books

Book Review: Truly, Madly, Deeply, by Faraaz Kazi

About the author:
Faraaz Kazi is an Indian author, who has won many awards for his debut fiction including the 2013 National Debut Youth Fiction Award and the YCOF National Excellence award in Creative Writing.

My thoughts on the book:
There is no shortage of books or authors in the romance genre when it comes to Indian fiction, so I feel to attempt a romance genre novel, it is both easy and difficult… easy because you are sure to get some reader base atleast, and difficult because you have competition in some upcoming, and some already bestseller authors. So what distinguishes Faraaz Kazi from his competition?

The plus point for me in his writing is that he brings back what is not there in so many love stories… he brings out the innocence and emotions that are experienced when we first fall in love. I was taken back to my school days through his writing, and it was not only because the setting for the novel is in those school days, but also because my first crush was in those days. And for a story to transport me back through words to those days felt just right.

The story is about young love, the love at first sight kind, where the boy Rahul falls in love with his junior, the shy, hard working and very smart Seema. He realizes later that she has affections for him as well, and their friends begin to call them as “a couple”. The story then goes on to their story, their meetings, how he woos her, how she is still that shy, introvert girl who has protective parents (at that age, it is very understandable, though the boy Rahul does not understand it) and how misunderstandings take them their separate ways.

What feels right in the story is the realism. He doesn’t make it anything other than it is, a young love story with all the innocence of childhood. You don’t have miraculous events or mushy dialogues. There is that wit and slight humor of school teasing, or those cheesy dialogues in the washrooms. There is that fear of parents finding about their relationship. And those little fights, and interactions that are cute. It is a tried and retried theme but given a fresh look. His narration is simple and enough to touch the heart. The nostalgia, for the boy Rahul who is in Pennsylvania to go back to the school days and narrate that to us, that was also quite nicely done.

What I felt was overcooked was the detailed school life, for e.g. the debate competition or quiz or cricket matches. Whereas they do form an important part of school life, too much detail seems to have gone into this subplot, and I skipped over that. It has been edited nicely, but still could be better.

I liked the read, and it flowed smoothly. I’m sure fans of the romance genre would enjoy it even more. A nice debut, and I expect to see even nicer novels from him soon.


Rated a 7 on 10!
Rated a 7 on 10!

Book details:
Title: Truly, Madly, Deeply
Author: Faraaz Kazi
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 9789350880098
Publishers: Mahaveer Publishers
Price: INR. 150

 


This is an author-requested review, given for a review copy of the book, but no other payment.
The opinions expressed in the review are my own, and remain unbiased and uninfluenced.


Shared with
1) First Reads Challenge at b00k r3vi3ws
2) Indian Quills Reading Challenge at Tales Pensieve.


(Aug 3rd, 2013)