Priyamvada & Co. by Sudha Nair

What really comes out of it all is the intertwined lives of all the characters who are related to each other in some or the other way for work or as family connections. But true love is never easy to find.

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Title: Priyamvada & Co.

Author: Sudha Nair

Publisher: Kalari Publishing

Date of Publication: 10 May 2018

Rating: 3.8/5

priyamvada

Prithvi is a mechanical engineer who designs video games and has returned from America to India for good. His mother Vinodini is an actress from the early days of cinema. She is an old lady now confined to her wheelchair. Prithvi is also a film producer and ever since the death of one of his colleagues, the media has been behind his life chasing him everywhere he goes. Wanting to follow his grandfather’s footsteps and fulfill his passion for cinema, he wanted to work in Priyamvada Studios that had been set up by his grandfather. But his father’s anger had made him pursue engineering in the States.

Back in India, he divides his time between looking after his ailing mother and working on his passions. It is when the lady in white crosses his path and scrapes his car that things take a different turn in the story. Three sisters have lost their father. All they have left is each other and all the things that their father used. They cannot seem to part with those things. The story catches on pace and moves ahead quickly as drama is added on. It is set in modern locations; the first half in Bangalore and the next in the beautiful lush green God’s own country Kerala. It talks of people living in residential complexes and metropolitan existences. However, the novel is over loaded with characters. Characters keep getting added after almost every page.Nonetheless, the story doesn’t remain stagnant and keeps moving forward steadily. Remembering all the characters and details related to them is challenging at times. The constant switching over from persons and places adds to the thrill and the difficulty of the book though it is an easy read.

In complete contrast, Kerala brings in the mysterious character of fifty year old money lender Thomachan. In an attempt to beat his loneliness he considers asking Indulekha out. He fell in love with her the moment he had set his eyes on her and it is his belief that if he’s waited so long to find a bride then he should not settle for anyone less than her. She runs a vegetable shop as the story goes on to reveal the love lives of those belonging to not so well to do fragments of the society. Infrequent use of Malayalam words are seen here. What really comes out of it all is the intertwined lives of all the characters who are related to each other in some or the other way for work, as family connections or as new acquaintances.

But true love is never easy to find. When one character fancies another then there are several tensions and conflicts that come into play diverting there paths in other directions. Rife with emotions, the book is a light romance in the backdrop of an individual’s struggle to revive a film production company and live up to his grandfather’s legacy. The story spans at a length of 42 chapters and 161 pages with a sweet and delightful ending. As a sequel to the best selling novel The Wedding Tamasha, in this second book in the series of The Menon Women which glimpses the life of the second daughter Neha Menon, Nair goes on to show that love ultimately triumphs and being in love makes one feel complete.

Exam Warriors by Narendra Modi

There are several puzzles, brain teasers and games centered around the examinations. The idea is to make taking these exams casual though they are much anticipated and a matter of stress. They determine the streams the students will be able to take up depending on the scores they attain.

Title: Exam Warriors

Author: Narendra Modi

Publisher: Amazon Asia-Pacific Holdings Private Limited

Date of Publication: 3 February 2018

Rating: 3.7/5

exam

Dedicated to the youth of India who comprise almost two-thirds of the population under the age of thirty five, Exam Warriors is written in a workbook style. It is an interactive and interesting book written with the annual Indian Board Exams in focus. Almost 2.824 million students will be appearing for the grade X and XII board exams in 2018. (CBSE class 10, 12 board exams to begin from March 5.) It serves as an extension of the February 2015 ‘Mann Ki Baat’.

The book is a unique experience and also highly engaging if used through the Narendra Modi Mobile App. The book has about 25 chapters which are short and are periodically interrupted by unique activities that include students to express themselves through writing, poster designing or drawing images. There are several puzzles, brain teasers and games centered around the examinations. The idea is to make the preparation for these exams casual though they are much anticipated and a matter of stress for both students and their families. They determine the streams the students will be able to take up depending on the scores they attain.

The colourful illustrations are done well and add to the interest of the book and function as stress busters. The book cover shows the Prime Minister waving the National Flag making the kids empowered with their weapons like pens, pencils and other stationery in hand. They skate and glide on segways to the finish line. The back cover also has a real photograph of the Prime Minister being greeted by young students and shaking hands with them. Though the book is highly interesting, it is difficult for a young and playful mind to stay away from the rat race that lies immediately ahead after the board exams.  With sky rocketing cut offs each year, eligibility for higher education is largely becoming a matter of fortune telling.

The book is highly relevant considering the time of release and also very technologically advanced. It has frequent QR codes presented in the book that can be scanned and uploaded to the Prime Minister’s Office directly. The tips are more or less what is usually told to students in terms of mental health, sleep, maintaining a schedule and being organsied with their study and exam day plans such as keeping their hall tickets and stationery in place. Most of it is presented in a fun manner. Along with the moral lessons stating examples of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam, Rani Laxmi Bai and Subhas Chandra Bose there is almost a mini yoga book in the end with some easy to practice and simple asanas explained with illustrations and simple steps. It is almost a back to school experience (for those who’ve not revisited their school in a long time) as one makes their way through the tasks. Keeping the cost of the book in mind, the quality of glossy pages is amazing.

The Prime Minister’s usual charisma is maintained and reflected which is undoubtedly the reason behind the book’s warm reception especially among the student community. It is definitely the first of its kind but how far it will sustain amidst the re-examination hullabaloo is hard to determine. An audiobook to go along with the paperback is a personal suggestion.

Asian History: Asian History: India, China by Edward Pannell and Raymond C Nelson

Both the books in the bundle are good introductory guides to India and China. However, placing the two together in the bundle does not mean that they have any content corresponding to one another or in terms of the political, social, economic and interpersonal relations of the two nations. Pannell and Nelson have added to the appeal of the collection with their own unique insight. 

Title: Asian History: Asian History: India, China

Authors: Edward Pannell and Raymond C Nelson

Publisher: Amazon Asia Pacific Holdings Private Limited

Date of Publication: 14 September 2017

Genre: History/ Politics

Rating: 4/5

“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”- Mark Twain

An unbiased and concise guide that delves into the very heart of the Indian subcontinent.

Opening with the inevitable enchantment that the very name has left for ages on the minds of people, Edward Pannell vows to leave no stone unturned. Drawing on the exotic ambience that became the reason for invaders to want to occupy this land, Pannell presents a historical perspective from the days of “milk and honey”. The narrative begins with the medieval era, ever since which the rise and demise of several ruling dynasties left India to be juggled from one hand to the other only to augment its magnetism. The French, Portuguese and European naval arrivals led to the British settlements leaving the final blow to the subcontinent by forcing its split into 3 parts of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Noting the various impressions on this land, he dissects the evolution of Indian history in a precise and factual manner. The counter events and civil revolutions are pitched with pros and cons to the original events that have several political bases. Pannell masters the art of presenting such a vivid and vibrant picture within mere 55 pages.

The language of the book is concise with short sentences that are easily understood. His apt choice of words presents the facts in a scientific and precise manner. Everything is to the point. The book follows a chronological movement of events. Images are patterned in the order in which they actually occurred. Pannell does not provide any personal detailing or added comments. The book serves as a handy guide for those interested in visiting or are already planning a trip to India in the near future. It may even be used as an introductory course book for school.

Some interesting facts included in the book are: corruption is not the only reason for India’s regression; it is the largest democracy in the world; falls in the category of one of the top 10% of wealthy nations; though a large section of the society is lives in abject poverty struggling for access to basic necessities. For those above them in the social strata things aren’t any better. They can only avail infrastructure and employment facilities that are below average in comparison to a lot of the world. Yet, India poses to be a promising superpower on the rise. The addition of “Interesting Facts” and “Pop Quizzes” at the end of each chapter makes the book more engaging. It highlights that one of the primary characteristics of India’s rich culture and heritage is its unity in the midst of diversity. It reassures of making a visit to India a unique experience that once attracted tourists because of its well established education, cultural and spiritual centres which explains the presence of eligible Indian origin workforce abroad, the spread of Ayurveda and the global practice of yoga to name a few.

The book gives an overview into everything Indian but it does not provide any travel tips though it may complement a travel guide well. Towards the end of the book is some useful information about sight-seeing in Delhi, visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra or Jaisalmer forts and Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad though the information is limited and misses out travel tips on the whole. However, the book helps in forming a connection with India to those who are absolutely alien to its rich history and culture.

Effortless, briefly enlightening and a very helpful handbook.

“A journey of a thousand miles, / begins at one’s feet.” Dao De Jing

Raymond Nelson returns with yet another concise but detailed coverage of Chinese history in terms of its economic, political, cultural and religious heritage. The book begins with the task of clarifying the misconception that the isolation of China had made it weak and not as prosperous as its Western contemporaries. Though trading with the West had stopped abruptly during the Ming Dynasty but it only made it a strong economic driving force in the region. The book opens with a timeline of China’s dynastic leagues from the Prehistoric Times through the Xia, Shang, Qin, Xin, Sui, Liao dynasties to the modern day People’s Republic of China established in 1949. Some of these dynasties are elaborated in detail along with the workings of the famous Silk Route.

China has emerged as a modern rising nation though in the past it had to battle the invasion of Genghis Khan and his ancestors who marked a fairly long reign. Again during World War II, Mao Zedong’s Communist Party allied with the Nationalist party to take a leap forward in Chinese politics. This became a major turning point in Chinese history and can be seen as laying the ethic of combining industry and agriculture which is very inclined towards the betterment of the working classes and is anti- capitalist. Despite the ups and downs China’s significant role in the entrepreneurial global chessboard and its influence cannot be denied. The book also shows China’s remarkable online growth in spite of its state controlled media. Very summarily, it also sketches the growing smartphone and fashion industry that has been able to create rippling effects globally, making China a tough global competitor. Further, the book shows the stages of development in the Chinese language and script along with chapters on the therapeutic effects of Chinese medicinal practices. Chinese religious beliefs and cultural mores find mention in their influence, depth and far reaching appeal. An aspect of China’s outreach is its film industry full of world famous actors and composers. While their folk tales talk about the rich culture, the various tourist attractions give an idea about the beauty of Chinese landscape and makes the book a good introductory guide for those planning their next trip to China. On the whole though Nelson seems to be giving more emphasis on successful Chinese foreign policies by sketching out China’s relations with various Western (first) world countries, Nelson chooses only to dwell on the best and positive aspects. Chinese societal or environmental issues do not find any mention. The information, thus, is rather basic and generalised which makes the book a tad bit lengthy but it definitely covers most things Chinese. The lack of illustrations can make it hard to keep focus throughout but it can be a good introductory guide for those interested in China, Asia or the far East.

Both the books in the bundle are good introductory guides to India and China. However, placing the two together in the bundle does not mean that they have any content corresponding to one another or in terms of the political, social, economic and interpersonal relations of the two nations. Pannell and Nelson have added to the appeal of the collection with their own unique insight.

Click the book cover to grab your copy. Happy Reading!

India: History of India: From Prehistoric Settlements to the Modern Republic of India by Edward Pannell

Drawing on the exotic ambience that became the reason for invaders to want to occupy this land, Pannell presents a historical perspective from the days of “milk and honey”.

 

Title: India: History of India: From Prehistoric Settlements to the Modern Republic of India

Author: Edward Pannell

Publisher: Lean Stone Publishing

Date of Publication: 15 June 2017

Genre: History/Politics

Rating: 5/5

 

india

“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend, and the great-grandmother of tradition. Our most valuable and most instructive materials in the history of man are treasured up in India only.”- Mark Twain

An unbiased and concise guide that delves into the very heart of the Indian subcontinent.

Opening with the inevitable enchantment that the very name has left for ages on the minds of people, Edward Pannell vows to leave no stone unturned. Drawing on the exotic ambience that became the reason for invaders to want to occupy this land, Pannell presents a historical perspective from the days of “milk and honey”. The narrative begins with the medieval era, ever since which the rise and demise of several ruling dynasties left India to be juggled from one hand to the other only to augment its magnetism. The French, Portuguese and European naval arrivals led to the British settlements leaving the final blow to the subcontinent by forcing its split into 3 parts of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. Noting the various impressions on this land, he dissects the evolution of Indian history in a precise and factual manner. The counter events and civil revolutions are pitched with pros and cons to the original events that have several political bases. Pannell masters the art of presenting such a vivid and vibrant picture within mere 55 pages.

The language of the book is concise with short sentences that are easily understood. His apt choice of words presents the facts in a scientific and precise manner. Everything is to the point. The book follows a chronological movement of events. Images are patterned in the order in which they actually occurred. Pannell does not provide any personal detailing or added comments. The book serves as a handy guide for those interested in visiting or are already planning a trip to India in the near future. It may even be used as an introductory course book for school.

Some interesting facts included in the book are: corruption is not the only reason for India’s regression; it is the largest democracy in the world; falls in the category of one of the top 10% of wealthy nations; though a large section of the society is lives in abject poverty struggling for access to basic necessities. For those above them in the social strata things aren’t any better. They can only avail infrastructure and employment facilities that are below average in comparison to a lot of the world. Yet, India poses to be a promising superpower on the rise. The addition of “Interesting Facts” and “Pop Quizzes” at the end of each chapter makes the book more engaging. It highlights that one of the primary characteristics of India’s rich culture and heritage is its unity in the midst of diversity. It reassures of making a visit to India a unique experience that once attracted tourists because of its well established education, cultural and spiritual centres which explains the presence of eligible Indian origin workforce abroad, the spread of Ayurveda and the global practice of yoga to name a few.

The book gives an overview into everything Indian but it does not provide any travel tips though it may complement a travel guide well. Towards the end of the book is some useful information about sight-seeing in Delhi, visiting the Taj Mahal in Agra or Jaisalmer forts and Mecca Masjid in Hyderabad though the information is limited and misses out travel tips on the whole. However, the book helps in forming a connection with India to those who are absolutely alien to its rich history and culture.

Effortless, briefly enlightening and a very helpful handbook.