#BookReview – Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows: A Novel

Balli Kaur Jaswal, a writer-in-residence at the University of East Anglia and Nanyang Technological University has third novel Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows (Harper Collins/William Morrow) released internationally in March 2017.

Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows: A Novel by [Jaswal, Balli Kaur] With visions of emancipating the women of the Sikh community she left behind as a self-important teenager, Nikki is shocked to find her creative writing class is a group of barely literate women who have no interest in her ideals of liberation.

To her surprise, the white dupatta of the widow hides more than just their modesty. These are women who have spent their lives in the shadows of fathers, brothers and husbands; being dutiful, raising children and going to temple, but whose inner lives are as rich and fruitful as their untold stories.

East meets west and tradition clashes with modernism in a thought-provoking cross-cultural novel that might make you look again at the women in your life

Amazon review OUR EDITOR 

The title of the book is a bit of a misnomer. While there is certainly some description of eroticism and sexual desire, Jaswal uses the theme of ‘Erotic stories’ as a catalyst for a glimpse into the imaginative minds hidden behind white dupattas of Southhall Sikh widows.

The novel begins with an introduction of the protagonist, Nikki, a law-school dropout who is trying to find her calling in life by bartending. Nikki tries to help with her sister’s matchmaking quest by making a trip to the Gurudwara in Southhall to post her matrimonial advert, and is amused to read other tacky adverts.

The author builds Nikki’s character with liberal doses of the clichéd desi issues: arranged marriage, gossip and conflicts that second-generation Non-Resident Indians face while trying to meet their parent’s expectations of life and career choices.


Those like me into this genera will find this an enjoyable East-West Mix.
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Book Review: Read Rudyard Kipling’s classics for Free (Kindle eBooks)

Indian Tales Kindle Edition by Rudyard Kipling

The Kindle edition of this book is now available for Free download (as of October 2017)

IndianTales Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English short-story writer, poet, and novelist, who won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1907. His children’s books are classics of children’s literature and his books include The Jungle Book and the Just So Stories. Kipling’s classics have been required reading for generations of Indian students.

This eBook was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web.

 

Review by our Editor  on Amazon: “Read Kipling’s classics for Free!” 

This is a great read, especially since it is available for Free download!”

This collection includes the following Kipling short-stories

  • The finest story in the World
  • With the Main Guard
  • Wee Willie Winkie
  • The Rout of the White Hussars
  • At Twenty-Two
  • The courting of Dinah Shadd
  • The story of Muhammad Din
  • In Flood time
  • My own true ghost story
  • The Big drunk Draf’
  • By Word of Mouth
  • The Drums of the Fore and Aft
  • The sending of Dana Da
  • On the City Wall
  • The broken-link handicap
  • On Greenhow Hill
  • To be filled for reference
  • The man who would be king
  • The Gate of Hundred Sorrows
  • The Incarnation of Krishna Mulvaney
  • His Majesty the King
  • The Strange Ride of Morrowbie Jukes
  • In the House of Suddhoo
  • Black Jack
  • The taking of Lungtungpen
  • The Phantom Rickshaw
  • On the strength of a Likeness
  • Private Learoyd’s Story
  • Wesssley of the Foreign office
  • The solid Muldoon
  • The Three Musketeers
  • Beyond the Pale
  • The god from the Machine
  • The daughter of the Regiment
  • The madness of private Ortheris
  • L’envoi

Book Review: Kindle eBooks of Indian origin

Here are a couple of Kindle eBooks that are currently FREE for download on Amazon.com

Amish Tripathi’s Raavan (A Preview): Orphan of Aryavarta

Raavan (A Preview): Orphan of Aryavarta by [Tripathi, Amish] Book Blurb:

3400 BCE, India

The mighty Lord of Lanka, Raavan, sets out to avenge the insult of his sister, Shurpanakha at the hands of the younger prince of Ayodhya, Lakshman. Aware that the Ayodhya royal trio are in exile he flies to Dandakaranya in the Lankan military aircraft, the Pushpak Vimaan. His mission? To capture the Vishnu.

For far will Raavan go to seek revenge?

Review by our Editor  on Amazon: “Nice preview” 

I downloaded this free-kindle version of the ‘booklet’ from Amish Tripathi hoping it was a novella. The author’s note in the first section clarifies “This booklet is being distributed only among a select few. If you are reading this, you are one of those who get a peek into the story I am still writing!”

The booklet of few pages is certainly readable and perhaps a taste of the book-3 – Orphan of Aryavarta.

Maha-bharata The Epic of Ancient India Condensed into English Verse

Maha-bharata The Epic of Ancient India Condensed into English Verse by [Dutt C.I.E., Romesh C.] Book Blurb:

This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers.

You may find it for free on the web.

Review by our Editor  on Amazon  “Nice, readable translation of a great epic”

Ramayana and Mahabarata are classic Indian epics that have been studied, translated and transcribed for generations. This kindle version is yet another addition to the wide selection out there and should be useful for English speaking readers interested in Mahabharata.

Book Review: ‘Hit Refresh’ by Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella

This is not yet another CEO’s ghost written tome

It is almost customary of tech CEO’s to write a book to to clarify their viewpoints, and also to solidify their personal legacies. The new book by Indian born CEO of tech giant Microsoft, Satya Nadella, does just this.

Indians, Indian-Americans and NRIs have been closely watching the ascend of Indian born technologists like Satya Nadella and Sundar Pichai to top of multinational tech companies. There are several nuggets of wisdom that readers are sure to glean from Satya Nadella’s new book.

Amazon book review by our editor,

Not yet another CEO’s ghost written tome ! 

It is a time-honed tradition among tech CEO’s and executives to pen down a biography. The intent is generally multifold – to use it as a vehicle to clarify their viewpoints, and also to solidify their personal legacies. Nadella’s book follows the pattern of his mentor Bill Gates’ bestseller “Business @ the Speed of Thought” that tried to make sense of the seismic changes during the earlier dot.com era. This book takes us through Microsoft’s transformation through the digital-cloud era.

Hit Refresh, as the title suggests, is Nadella’s attempt to take us through his company’s ongoing transformation to ‘refresh’ the strategy, and his quest to “Rediscover Microsoft’s Soul.” A soul that essentially encompasses everything from the culture to competitive landscape and industry partnerships. Of course, corporate watchers and researchers are bound to wonder if a company really has a “soul.”

As a blogger who continually pursues South Asian ‘success stories,’ I have been following Nadella’s journey and his ascend to the top of American multinational is an inspiration to a generation of Indian Americans. In the book, Nadella takes us through the journey in his own words: from his childhood in India to the CEO of a Tech giant, that makes for an interesting read.

The book concludes with Nadella’s vision for the coming wave of digitization and explores its potential impact on society. Techies and students of business strategy are sure to find nuggets of insights in the book.


Bottomline: Nadella gives writer Greg Shaw full credit as a co-author – and the tone and themes in the chapters certainly reflect that of Microsoft’s leader.

According to the blurb, this is an attempt by Microsoft’s CEO to take us through

“the inside story of the company’s continuing transformation, tracing his own personal journey from a childhood in India to leading some of the most significant technological changes in the digital era. As much a humanist as engineer and executive, Nadella concludes with his vision for the coming wave of intelligent technologies and a distinct call to action for leaders everywhere. Hit Refresh is about individual change, about the transformation happening inside of Microsoft and the technology that will soon impact all of our lives–the arrival of the most exciting and disruptive wave of technology humankind has experienced: artificial intelligence, mixed reality, and quantum computing.It’s about how people, organizations, and societies can and must transform “hit refresh” in their persistent quest for new energy, new ideas, and continued relevance and renewal. At its core, it’s about us humans and how our one unique quality–empathy–will become ever more valuable in a world where technological advancement will disrupt the status quo as never before. Satya Nadella explores a fascinating childhood before immigrating to the US and how he learned to lead along the way.”


Book Review: All the Light We Cannot See

“A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II

Marie-Laure has been blind since the age of six. Her father builds a perfect miniature of their Paris neighbourhood so she can memorize it by touch and navigate her way home. But when the Nazis invade, father and daughter flee with a dangerous secret.

Werner is a German orphan, destined to labour in the same mine that claimed his father’s life, until he discovers a knack for engineering. His talent wins him a place at a brutal military academy, but his way out of obscurity is built on suffering.

At the same time, far away in a walled city by the sea, an old man discovers new worlds without ever setting foot outside his home. But all around him, impending danger closes in.

Doerr’s combination of soaring imagination and meticulous observation is electric. As Europe is engulfed by war and lives collide unpredictably, ‘All The Light We Cannot See’ is a captivating and devastating elegy for innocence.

– Amazon’s blurb of “All the Light We Cannot See”

All the Light We Cannot See by [Doerr, Anthony]

Review from our editor, Mohan, on Amazon

I chanced on a copy of Anthony Doerr’s bestseller with a bit of trepidation: was this yet another novel about WWII? One would think that all, if not most of the stories of the great war have been reviewed and written. But no, this came across as a surprisingly refreshing epic saga.

The focus of the story, set in the five years of the world war (between 1939 and 1944) is on the lives and travails of two main characters – Marie Laure and Werner. Marie Laure is a blind 14-year-old French girl who flees from Paris to the countryside with her father who is a locksmith for a renowned museum. Werner is a radio-and-gadget-obsessed German orphan picked from his orphanage to attend an elite military school.

The strong characters will leave you reflecting on the story much after you have finished the novel. The fast paced twists and turns in the plot with engaging characters keep readers hooked through the saga.

It is not for nothing that the book received several acclaimed literary awards, including The 2015 Pulitzer Prize and The Carnegie Medal for Fiction, ending as a New York Times Bestseller

About the author: Anthony Doerr has won numerous prizes for his fiction, including the 2015 Pulitzer Prize. His most recent novel, All the Light We Cannot See, was named a best book of 2014 by a number of publications, and was a #1 New York Times Bestseller. Visit him at http://www.anthonydoerr.com.


You may also be interested in other recent book review (link) | You may also be interested in the Books section of GaramChai

The Top 10 Best Apocalyptic and Post-Apocalyptic Novels of All Time

If you’re looking to switch up your reading habits a little, apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic novels are a great choice. Here are the top ten books about the apocalypse.

  1. Cat’s Cradle, by Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut’s thrilling apocalyptic novel fully deserves its place as the first on this list, due to the extreme literary mastery it is written with. Cat’s Cradle is an incisive satirical dystopian narrative in which the moments leading up to the apocalypse build up, painting an intricate picture of human society and its many flaws.

  1. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Phillip K. Dick

Phillip K. Dick’s Do Androids Dream shows human life in the aftermath of a technologized apocalypse, living amongst garbage and ruins and hunting rebelled androids in order to restore some remnant of peace of Earth.

  1. Oryx and Crake, by Margaret Atwood

Canadian author Margaret Atwood has made a name for herself in the dystopian narrative community with her witty and incisive portrayals of the apocalypse. Oryx and Crake is the first book in her MaddAddam trilogy, and it focuses on a biochemical apocalypse, presenting both the events leading up to it, as well as its grim aftermath.

  1. The Year of the Flood, by Margaret Atwood

The second book in Atwood’s MaddAddam trilogy is equal to its predecessor, which is rare in the case of trilogies. The Year of the Flood presents the aftermath of the same apocalypse from different points of view. Unfortunately, the final book isn’t nearly as good as the first two.

  1. The Road, by Cormac McCarthy

Cormac McCarthy’s masterpiece bends the conventions of the genre, achieving a unique perspective on the post-apocalyptic novel genre. The Road is the story of a nameless father and son who wander around a world destroyed by an unspecified catastrophe.

  1. Sirens of Titan, by Kurt Vonnegut

Vonnegut’s second book on this list can also fit into the sci-fi genre due to its exploration of space travel and other related concepts. However, Sirens of Titan is par excellence an apocalyptic novel because it presents a dark military space apocalypse in the making.

  1. Zone One, by Colson Whitehead

For readers out there that very much prefer their apocalypse to be zombified, Colson Whitehead’s novel is a clear winner.

  1. Tenth of December, by George Saunders

Saunders’ book is perfect for fans of Black Mirror, because the style is very similar.

  1. Children of Men, by P.D. James

This novel-turned-film explores themes such as infertility and exploitation of immigrants, all under the watchful eye of a deranged government. It’s a real page-turner, trust us.

  1. The Handmaid’s Tale, by Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood is clearly a winner on this list, seeing as this is her third book here. The Handmaid’s Tale explores a different kind of post-apocalyptic world, one that has been torn apart by political dictatorship. It’s a bold and incisive exploration of gender roles and norms that has been rightfully acclaimed as a feminist masterpiece.