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Monday, October 31, 2011

First Page Mondays: The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh

As part of the First Page Mondays here at The Book Worm, here's the first page from the book The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh.

'In 1939, thirteen years before I was born, my father’s aunt, Mayadebi, went to England with her husband and her son, Tridib.

It startles me now to discover how readily the name comes off my pen as ‘Mayadebi’, for I have never spoken of her thus; not aloud at any rate: as my grandmother’s only sister, she was always Maya-thakuma to me. But still, from as far back as I can remember, I have known her, in the secrecy of my mind, as ‘Mayadebi’ – as though she were a well-known stranger, like a filmstar or a politician whose picture I had seen in a newspaper. Perhaps it was merely because I knew her very little, for she was not often in Calcutta. That explanation seems likely enough, but I know it to be untrue. The truth is that I did not want to think of her as a relative: to have done that would have diminished her and her family – I could not bring myself to believe that their worth in my eyes could be reduced to something so arbitrary and unimportant as a blood relationship.

Mayadebi was twenty-nine when they left and Tridib was eight.

Over the years, although I cannot remember when it happened any more than I can remember when I first learnt to tell the time or tie my shoelaces, I have come to believe that I was eight too when Tridib first talked to me about his journey. I remember trying very hard to imagine him back to my age, to reduce his height to mine, and to think away the spectacles that wre so much a part of him that I really believed he had been born with them. It wasn’t easy, for to me he looked old, impossibly old, and I could not remember him looking any other than old – though, in fact, at that time he could not have been much older than twenty-nine. In the end, since I had nothing to go on, I had decided that he had looked like me.

But my grandmother, when I asked her, was very quick to contradict me. She shook her head firmly, looking up from her schoolbooks and said: No, he looked completely different – not at all like you.

My grandmother didn’t approve of Tridib. He’s a loafer and a wastrel, I would sometimes hear her saying to my parents; he……'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: Delayed Monsoon by Chitralekha Paul

As part of the Sneaky-Peeky Sundays here at The Book Worm, here's the page from the book 'Delayed Monsoon' by Chitralekha Paul that I am reading right now.

* This is a complimentary review copy sent by the author and BookReaders' Lounge, and is NOT A PAID COPY.

'....were still fresh and Subba dominated my conversation. Riaz could make out how deeply hurt I was and wanted to divert my attention. But failing to distract me, he suddenly came up with a strange question. "Do you ever fantasize having a close relationship with someone other than your husband?"

What!!! How dare he ask me such questions? With my conservative upbringing and the traditional mind-set, I found this query to be weird. I was thinking of a befitting reply, when another message came from him.

"I am sure you are now angry with me. My sincere apology to you lady for offending you, but at I last I got success."

Success?? What success was he talking about? I was perplexed.

"So...? What's going on in your mind at this moment? I am sure, right now Subba is out of your mind, as you must be rummaging through your brain to find appropriate words to put me to my place. And that was exactly what I wanted to do, to make you forget Subba," he wrote again. Phew! What a way to sidetrack me! But, nonetheless, it was effective.

Soon Riaz became a friend of mine. He knew that most of the time I kept brooding, unhappy as I was, with my life. He would always ask me to look beyond problems and count the blessings, to learn to be happy on my own, rather than depending on someone else. He lent his ears, when I needed someone to listen to me, but at the same time talked tough, if he felt it was required. I still remember how upset i was once, after a bitter argument with Nikhil and on an impulse, I sent a message when I saw Riaz online.

"I feel like jumping from my balcony."

"Wow! A good idea indeed! I think you must try it," he sent a reply along with a clapping emoticon.

"I am not joking," I typed.

"Neither am I. After all what more will happen if you jump? It's just that every bone of your body would break, in case you survive the fall," he replied.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Classic Thursdays: The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

The Scarlet Letter is considered Nathaniel Hawthorne's most impressive work ever. The novel is an 1850 work of fiction in a historical setting. Set in the 17th-century England during the years 1642-1649, it tells the story of Hester Prynne, who conceives a daughter through an adulterous affair and struggles to create a new life of repentance and guilt. Throughout the book, Nathaniel Hawthorne explores themes of legalism, sin and guilt.

It was long thought that Hawthorne originally planned The Scarlet Letter to be a shorter novelette which was part of a collection to be named Old Time Legends, but his publisher convinced him to expand the work to a full-length novel. But this was not the truth. The publisher had in fact persuaded Hawthorne to publish The Scarlet Letter separately, but had nothing to do with the length of the story.

The Scarlet Letter was published as a novel in the spring of 1850. Hawthorne doubted the book would be popular, but in fact, it became an instant best-seller. Its initial publication brought wide protests from the natives of Salem, who did not approve of how Hawthorne depicted them in his introduction 'The Custom House'. In the second edition of the book, Hawthorne stated that he had decided to re-print his introduction 'without the change of a word...' As to enmity or ill-feeling of any kind, personal or political, he utterly disclaims such motives.

The Scarlet Letter was also one of the first mass-produced books in America. Into the mid-nineteenth century, book-binders of homegrown literature hand-made their books and sold them in small quantities. The first mechanized printing of The Scarlet Letter, 2500 volumes, sold out within ten days and was widely read and discussed to an extent not much experienced in the young country up until now. Copies of the first edition are often sought by collectors as rare books and may fetch up to around $18,000USD.

The novel has been made into a movie in the year 1995 directed by Roland Joffe and starring Demi Moore, Gary Oldman and Robert Duvall. This version was 'freely adapted' and deviated from the original story.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

On The Cover: Women And The Weight Loss Tamasha by Rujuta Diwekar

I have of late been obsessed with losing weight. Not that I am overweight or anything, but I just want to get more fit and toned. And I must say I have lost many many many sleepless nights and evenings and days for it...not to mention the delicious food and what not! So finally my hubby decided to gift me this wonderful book called 'Women And The Weight Loss Tamasha by Rujuta Diwekar' and I must say it's been an eye-opener. So for all you ladies, if you have ever worried about your weight (which I'm sure all us women do no matter our waist size and weight), this is one of those books which you MUST MUST MUST READ.....

Here's what the cover jacket says:

'Women & The WeightLoss Tamasha from the author of 'Don't Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight' with a personal note from Kareena Kapoor


The nutritionist who taught us that simply eating (pun intended) is the jey to a fab body is back with a comprehensive book on women, food and everything in between. From puberty to marriage, from pregnancy to menopause, Rujuta explains in detail the changes women go through (and God knows as Indian women we go through way beyond those just hormonal - husband, in-laws, children, career etc.) and how what we do (or don't) during these phases affects our overall well-being.

Building on her four principles of eating right from 'Don't Lose Your Mind Lose Your Weight', she goes to share her four strategies (Nutrition, Exercise, Sleep and Relationships) for each of these phases and especially the lifestyle disorders of PCOD, hypothyroid and diabetes. Rujuta, in her usual indomitable style, debunks (rubbishes rather) myths related to food, hormones and workouts, forces us to rethink our belief that pregnancy, menopause, hypothyroid, etc. come in the way of losing weight and reveals just how easy it is to remain healthy, strong and fit through one's life.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller

I have never read any book about the Amish way of life, so when I got a chance to read and review the book Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller, I was really excited. Book Sneeze had the book up for review, and I had heard a little about the Amish community, so this seemed like the perfect way to acquaint myself with this ‘new’ and interesting lifestyle.

What first got me interested was the cover of the book, at once cosy and inviting. I could immediately sense this to be one of those books that would make for a perfect cosy read on a lazy afternoon, and I must admit I was not disappointed when I actually started reading the book.

Young Emma is an unmarried woman of 24, and hence a cause for concern in her community, as being unmarried at the grand big age of 24 means you’re a spinster, that something is wrong with you and you have failed miserably in your search of a husband. The story begins with the death of Emma and Clara’s mother. The sisters have already lost their father earlier, as we are made aware of later in the story, and Emma lives with her old grandmother, while her sister Clara lives with her husband Peter and two children nearby. As the story progresses, we see her sadness for a love that is lost, in the form of her childhood sweetheart Adam, who has decided to leave the Amish community and go out in the ‘real’ world. Emma still cannot make herself believe that Adam is now no longer there by her side, that the love she thought was so real is now hers no more. And she is still angry, hurt, sad and confused about what it is that drove Adam out of the perfect Amish community, a life she simply loves and upholds.
Clara, though married and a mother of two, is in the middle of a crisis. Her husband, Peter, is out of work, and this creates a rift between the couple, as Clara struggles to manage her family on the bare little money that is left. She knows this won’t last forever, and tries to come up with ideas that can help her family, more specifically, her two little children, survive.
Emma, on the other hand, is faced with equal financial crisis. Earlier, after the death of her father, her grandmother and mother were managing the expenses by creating jams and jellies and selling them to passing tourists. Now, with the death of her mother, she is left alone to take care of her old grandmother, with hardly any possible means of an income.
This financial crisis drives Clara to devise a plan to use the family home as a business place, and further creates a rift between the sisters.
Things get more complicated when Emma’s old love, Adam, returns; not to mention the arrival of a mysterious stranger whose devious plans create further drifts and confusion.

As the story progresses, the reader gets more and more attached with the characters and their daily lives. The story is easy to follow, even for someone like me who is not at all aware of the Amish way of life (though now I can say I know some of it for sure). The book has a few Amish words put in, but not in a way that will make you wonder about the meaning or going back to the reference section. I loved the way the countryside was brought alive as I turned the pages, and a sense of calm and cozy life as you read about the many mornings and evenings spent in this quiet countryside. The language is easy and the story fast, I finished the book in one sitting – in a matter of a couple of hours.

I would definitely recommend this book for a quick, easy and feel-good read.

Please note that this was a complimentary review copy and NOT A PURCHASED ONE.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, October 24, 2011

First Page Mondays: Women In Love by D.H. Lawrence

As part of the First Page Mondays here at The Book Worm, here's the first page of the classic novel 'Women In Love' by D.H. Lawrence...

'Ursula and Gudrun Brangwen sat one morning in the window-bay of their father's house in Beldover, working and talking. Ursula was stitching a piece of brightly-coloured embroidery, and Gudrun was drawing upon a board which she held on her knee. They were mostly silent, talking as their thoughts strayed through their minds.

"Ursula," said Gudrun, "don't you really want to get married?"

Ursula laid her embroidery in her lap and looked up. Her face was calm and considerate.

"I don't know," she replied. "It depends on how you mean."

Gudrun was slightly taken aback. She watched her sister for some moments.

"Well," she said, ironically, "it usually means one thing! - But don't you think, anyhow, you'd be -" she darkened slightly - "in a better position than you are in now?"

A shadow came over Ursula's face.

"I might," she said. "But I'm not sure."

Again Gudrun paused, slightly irritated. She wanted to be quite definitive.

"You don't think one needs the experience of having been married?" she asked.

"Do you think it need be an experience?" replied Ursula.

"Bound to be, in some way or the other," said Gudrun, coolly. "Possibly undesirable, but bound to be an experience of some sort."

"Not really," said Ursula. "More likely to be the end of experience."

Gudrun sat very still, to attend to this.

"Of course," she said, "there's that to consider."

This brought the conversation to a close. Gudrun almost angrily, took up her rubber and began to rub out part of her drawing. Ursula stitched absorbedly.

"You wouldn't consider a good offer?" asked Gudrun.

"I think I've rejected several," said Ursula.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: Saraswati Park by Anjali Joseph

As part of the Sneaky-Peeky Sunday initiative here at The Book Worm, here's a look at the page from the book 'Saraswati Park' by Anjali Joseph that I am reading right now.

* This is a complimentary review copy sent by Crossword as part of their Vodafone Crossword Book Award 2010 and is NOT A PURCHASED COPY.

'He crossed the road and walked between the stalls selling office clothing - consignments of white shirts, spread out helplessly on tables - past the bus stand and the side entrance of the station, to the tarpaulin and the gnarled, mythic-looking banyan tree where the letter writer sat, next to the pigeon shelter. It was all right; their tables were chained and padlocked in place, and one of the others would have left his things - sealing wax, muslin, packing needles, the directory of postal codes - at the shop nearby. He patted his shirt pocket, where his train pass was a reassuring flat surface; in his back pocket his wallet was undisturbed.

A group of pigeons flew out of the old tree and into the sky, their winds making the sound of wind on the sea; they criss-crossed each other and made for the west. He tucked the new book under his arm and returned to the station, where a Harbour Line train was pulling into platform two.


When he woke in the morning his wife was still asleep. In the half-light he saw the back of her neck, a few inches away. At the nape, fine hair curled; one shoulder rose under the sheet into a hillock that sheltered her face. The perfume of her neck, which had astounded him they'd been newly married, was unchanged: intense, overripe; lotuses mixed with ash.

He extricated himself gently from the cotton sheet, which seemed to have become needy during the night. He padded into the bathroom, switched on the water heater, and went to the kitchen. It was good, this moment of silence before the machinery of the day began. It had been different when the .........'

For readers living in India, you can grab your copy at discounted rates directly through Crossword. Click here to buy.

For those of you who wish to buy through Amazon, please click below:

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, October 21, 2011

The Crossword Penguin Fest 21st Oct - 13th Nov 2011

All you book lovers....here's some amazing news you can't afford to miss. Its time for the Crossword Penguin Fest starting tomorrow. And the party spills over to next month as well.

Here are the details:

10:30am 21st October 2011 to 08:30pm 13th November 2011

At select Crossword stores across Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Chennai and Nagpur

About the Crossword Penguin Fest:

This festive season get savings like never before on your favourite books. Crossword Stores and India's largest publisher Penguin Books India come together to give you offerings like never before.

With upto 50% off on more than 4500 bestselling titles, Crossword promises to fill up your bookshelves faster than you could imagine !!!

The Offers:

The Half Price Deal:
50% off on more than 300 bestselling titles

Buy One Get One Free Offer:
The Buy One Get One Free offer is valid on more than 50 titles

Flat 20% Discount:
The side-splitting collection of Roald Dahl's favourites, Bestsellers from the collections of Ayn Rand, Shashi Tharoor, Shobha De (yucks!!), Orhan Pamuk (Im definitely gonna go for this one), Khushwant Singh, Amitav Ghosh (again, Im gonna go for this one), Kiran Desai (not sure), and Harry Potter series (definitely not interested in this one), & the Hilarious Wimpy Kid Series

Flat 30% off:
Flat 30% off on the entire DK reference series for adults and children, all Travel Rough Guides & Eyewitness travel guides. More than 350 titles to choose from

Buy 2 Get One Free:
Pick up 2 titles and get the third one absolutely free on the entire Puffin Series & The Ladybird Series including Cinderella, Peter Pan, Robin Hood, Sherlock Holmes, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Hound, Emma and others


City Stores
Mumbai Kemps Corner
Turner Road
Inorbit Malad
Oberoi Mall
Growel Kandivali
R Mall Thane
Nirmal Mulund
Powai Hiranandani
Vashi Inorbit Mall

Hyderabad Inorbit Cyberabad
Banjara Hills

Nagpur Civil Lines

Bengaluru Koramangala
JP Nagar
Garuda Mall
Indira Nagar
Bellandur Central
Coles Road
Sadashiva Nagar

Delhi Select Citywalk

Chennai Alwarpet

For any further queries you can write in to the Crossword staff at crosswordconnect@gmail.com

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Review: Hollywood Under The Covers by Brandie Knight

It was a chance comment on this blog that led me to Hollywood writer, producer, lyricist, publisher, entrepreneur and one-time publicist Brandie Knight. I saw Brandie Knight's comment on my blog on a post I did about author Jackie Collins, whose works I have thoroughly enjoyed. And it was then that Brandie Knight offered, so graciously, to send me a copy of her sexy book Hollywood Under The Covers for a complimentary read and review. She told me she wanted to see my reaction on reading the book, and I must say I had one too many of those.....For starters, the book is 'loosely based on real events' and Brandie herself admits that whatever she has mentioned in the book is pale in comparison to what she has seen happening in Hollywood for 'real.'

Before I tell you more about the book, here's a note, rather, a warning, from the author herself, to all those who wish to pick up her book:

Author’s Warning: Do NOT read this novel if you are easily offended, related to the author, or under 18-years-old. By keeping the material as close to the truth as possible, the adult content is explicit and may be offensive to some people.

Like I said, I have read a few Jackie Collins books earlier and had a bit of an idea of what I should be reading in Brandie Knight's book. But as I read through the first page, I must admit, this was one of those openings I have never ever come across any book that I have read till date. For a few minutes I was wondering if what I was reading was real, especially since Brandie and her publicists had mentioned specifically in their mails that whatever is there in the book is actually happening for real out there....So, I took another few minutes to sit and re-read the first few pages...especially the opening...and boy oh boy...if this is my reaction to a fiction novel, how would one react to it in real life???!!!!

One of the best and most captivating feature of the book is Brandie's ability to create a powerful visual impact. As you read through each scene, you can see it all playing in front of your eyes, just as if you were watching this on-screen...And I do believe and hope this book will surely be made into a movie (can't tell you how eager I will be to see it!!)

The main protagonist is Lacy Fox, a romance writer, who goes through a series of adventures and experiences in Hollywood while working on her projects. Lacy Fox is already a well-established name in Hollywood, and her fictional character, Tiger, is a hearth-throb and sex-symbol for the teenaged and the young and not-so-young alike. Not many are aware about the truth behind her hero Tiger, about the 'real' man on whom Tiger is based. This happens to be a top actor in Hollywood named Dario, whom Lacy had met earlier at a party one night in Hollywood. He was still a struggling actor then, and now Lacy is unable to come to terms with his stardom. Her fantasies, her longing and her constant sexual tensions in relation to Dario form a chain through the novel. We are introduced to other important characters, plots and sub-plots that are equally interesting and gripping. But I don't want to give away too much of the story here...I would rather you read it for yourself and be taken by surprise and shock !!!!

What I also loved about Brandie Knight's writing is the way she points out exact places and timings. It's as if everything is happening in real time right in front of your eyes (of course the event are loosely based on real events so Brandie does have an insider's knowledge of events and places).

The characters are many and varied, ranging from wannabes to superstars to producers, to agents, to managers, to writers, to family, to mistress, to so many interesting people who are scattered throughout the 356 pages in the book. But Brandie Knight does an amazing job of sequencing, of re-creating story after story while keeping the main plot intertwined in all her parallel stories and events. Not once do you get confused about who is who and what this person was doing in the last chapter and where did this character suddenly come up from? Every character has importance and is crucial to the story as a whole.

As I read the book, I understood why the author had given a warning with the book and why Brandie Knight and her managers were so vocal in their mails about the content being explicit. True, the graphic portrayals of the many sex-scenes can be a bit too much for some, but I never found it to be out of place or unreal. After all, these things do happen, and rather than brushing them under the carpet or choosing to play around with words when it comes to raw and powerful sex scenes, Brandie Knight manages to create an effect that is 'real' yet not vulgar or cheap. The drugs, the porn, the sleaze, the sex, the booze, its all part of the 'real' world, and that is where I believe Brandie Knight has done a great job of actually putting it on a platter and serving it to us the way it really is. So for any of you who feel the explicit sex talk can get too much, I would suggest you read the book with an open mind, with the knowledge that these things do happen around us, and that this IS the real world.

For a sneak peek inside one of the pages in the novel, click here:

For a look at the cover jacket, click here:

You can visit Brandie Knight here:

For any of you who has ever read a Jackie Collins novel and loved it, this is THE book for you to read. I loved reading Hollywood Under The Covers and THANK YOU Brandie and her entire PR team, especially Dustin, for giving me a chance to read this exciting novel.

Brandie Knight is currently working on her next novel, and I do hope I get a chance to read and review it.....Can't tell you how excited I am to read the next. If her first was as explosive as this, can't even wait and see what the next one has in store.....

You can easily order Hollywood Under The Covers through Amazon here:

And for our lovely readers in India, simply go to Flipkart through the link below and grab your copy at an awesome 23% discount!!! Click here:

- Debolina Raja Gupta

On The Cover: Hollywood Under The Covers by Brandie Knight

Hollywood writer, producer, lyricist, publisher, entrepreneur and one-time publicist Brandie Knight gave me the chance to read and review a copy of her steamy novel 'Hollywood Under The Covers' and here is a look at what the cover jacket has to say.

'Hollywood Under The Covers is a rare look inside the seductive entertainment industry. To the outside world, Hollywood is portrayed with glamour, riches and fame, but to insiders, it's a cold, dark, scandalous place, where survival is not about basic instinct but the people you're sleeping with. The book exposes the erotic side of four Hollywood moneymakers, openly revealing how nothing is safe in the hands of greed.

Knight's first novel Hollywood Under The Covers is an intriguing world of sex, drugs, scandals and the downside of fame. Loosely based on actual events, this fictional story takes the reader on a fast paced, head-spinning journey into a world so strange it could only be based in truth.

"Hollywood Under The Covers throws the blanket off a warm bed and has you feel the cold truth of the city and lifestyle of the entertainment profession, Brandie Knight gives you a vivid, sensuous, but accurate accounts of the highlights and lowlifes of this American culture." - Al Canal, Legendary Comedy Promoter

"When reading Brandie Knight's book Hollywood Under The Covers, she brought me into the underbelly of Hollywood's celebrity elite and their own personal deals with the devil. A real sexy page turner, I held it up with one hand while the other didn't want it to end." - Warren Durso, Movie & TV Producer, The Vine Studio.

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Recently Read, Just Finished Reading And What I Am Reading Now

A handfull of good books again and here's a look at what I recently read, what I am reading now, and what I am looking forward to reading:

Recently Read:
The Day Of The Butterfly by Norah Lofts - Nice Read

You can order it on Amazon here:

Just Finished Reading:

My Heart Stopped Beating: True Story by Chamed- Okay Read (This was a complimentary review copy and not a purchased one)

You can order it on Amazon here:

Reading Now:

Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller - Nice Read (This is a complimentary review copy and not a purchased one.)

You can order it on Amazon here:

Also Reading Now:

Women And The Weight Loss Tamasha by Rujuta Diwekar
- Amazing Read

You can order it on Amazon here:

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Review: American Suite by author Diana E. Sheets

Details about the book:
Author: Diana E. Sheets
ISBN: 978-1-934978-33-7
Publisher: Jorge Pinto Books
No. of pages: 269

This copy of the book American Suite by Diana E. Sheets is a complimentary review copy sent through Book Pleasures and the author personally. This is NOT A PURCHASED COPY.

American Suite by author Diana E. Sheets is a contemporary novel, written in the form of diary entries. The book takes its voice from the perspective of its three main female characters – Rosalyn Selby, Sophie (Rosalyn’s elder daughter) and Arisa (younger daughter). The women are all part of the affluent America from well-to-do families, and are strong, independent identities. Their personalities and views often clash with each other, giving us different views and perspectives to situations and emotions.

The central plot runs through the life of Arisa, the youngest daughter of Rosalyn. Arisa is the typical young, independent woman in her mid-thirties, out there chasing her career, and in the process, giving up her beau, her old career, and severing ties with her widowed mother and elder sister.

Compulsive and driven by passions, she soon falls in love within days of reaching her new destination, but finds out that her dream man is married and has kids. Heartbroken, Arisa tries to get back with her ex, but realizes it is over between them. Her emotional upheavals leave her shaken and she decides to take the help of therapy, but things don’t get any better. After a few more not-so-pleasant experiences, she falls in love all over again, this time with a Hollywood director and screenwriter. Their relationship is tumultuous and she soon finds out that he had been filming their relationship to use in his next movie, Legs Wide Open. Arisa steals his dog and decides to now take a break and goes to stay in a monastery for a short time. She finally returns home and decides to write a book based on her experiences. Yet again she falls in love, this time with an ex-con.

The other two characters have their share of events, but are not given as much space as Arisa and her life. Rosalyn is a widow who lives in the city and wishes she were a Jew. Sophie, her elder daughter, lives with her family and struggles to keep up the charade of a picture-perfect family, while her husband is out of a job, and while she experiences lust for her son’s tutor.

American Suite has been described as a ‘comedy’, but I found it to be darker than a comedy. The book can best be described as a take on romance and drama. Many critics have felt it’s quite close to life in real, but somehow, I did not identify with the characters much. Arisa’s now-this now-that man syndrome is a little too much to handle, and I found it quite odd that despite being made out a strong, independent and sensible young woman in the beginning, she only falls for the wrong men each time. I could not identify with Rosalyn’s obsession or desire to have been born a Jew. I can, however, identify with Sophie’s growing lust for her son’s tutor – it has more shades of ‘real’ in it.

The book is a light read that is full of comedy, drama, sex and content that will interest you enough to reach to the end.

Personal Verdict: Ok

* Debolina Raja Gupta is an international book reviewer with Book Pleasures.

To purchase your copy visit here:

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, October 17, 2011

First Page Mondays: My Heart Stopped Beating: A True Story, Teen Survivor Memories of Horror Mad Houses in Italy by Chamed

As part of the First Page Monday initiative here on The Book Worm, here's the first page from the book 'My Heart Stopped Beating: A True Story' by Chamed (not the registry office name of the author though). This is a complimentary review copy and has not been purchased.

'A short time after my first birthday, when I was fourteen months old, I had to get vaccinated. My mother took me to the hospital.

After the injection my mother asked the doctor: "Is it normal that my baby is so weary? She doesn't articulate any words, she looks very tired."

"Yes, it's all okay, today she will just have a slight temperature."

Mon brought me home. Dad had gotten home earlier than usual, to help mom make lunch. When we arrived, my dad took me in his arms and said, "How did it turn out, my darling? Did my little pet cry?"

"No, she was a good child, and don't worry, the doctor said she is all right, perhaps she'll have a slight fever, nothing to worry about."

"I think she is ill, she cannot stand up, she's not saying anything and she's not responding to any stimuli."

Mon tried to reassure dad, repeating that it was the effect of the vaccination, but Dad wasn't convinced at all.

"Darling," Dad said to Mom, "I don't see any light in her eyes, she is expressionless. I'll bring her to the hospital!"

Mom, grumbling, agreed.

During the trip to the hospital, there was only fear and dismay, which were tightening their grip. Dad, looking carefully, said: "I knew it! That's the end."

What was happening to my body? My forehead was burning, the cold of my skin was penetrating into my bones and blocking all of my movements. In Mom and Dad's eyes, panic was growing. Time seemed to slow down. A sense of......'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: Women And The Weight-Loss Tamasha by Rujuta Diwekar

Ok, so I'm again a bit late...but here's the page I am currently reading out of the two books I'm reading parallel. Its called 'Women And The Weight Loss Tamasha' by author Rujuta Diwekar. The book deals with the many weight-loss issues women deal with everyday, how it plays on our minds and even though we attempt so many ways to lose weight, what we end up doing wrong and what are the ways we can actually adopt to have a successful weight and fitness plan for ourselves.

Here's a peek:
'When you're relaxed, you generally don't behave harshly with yourself. I mean, as women, we have been brainwashed into always being nice to others, especially after marriage, but we're never told not to behave 'rudely' to ourselves. So we are all guilty of doing tons of emotional atyachar on ourselves daily. But when we feel relaxed we are willing to go easy on ourselves. So no weighing scales but just jasmine chai. Tumhare paas kya hai? Mere paas jasmine chai hai.'

Okay, jokes apart, families have been broken, money laundered, health has been lost and the body has been put through near-death experiences - all to see some elusive number on a weighing scale. One of my clients lost her mother due to a complication post liposuction (she wanted to lose weight quickly for her son's marriage). Her story almost killed me. I mean, what's wrong with us? Who are we trying to please, and at what cost? I couldn't have possibly lost 2.5 kilos in less than thirty seconds - that's about the time it took to hop from one weighing scale to another. And yet I know that it's standard practice in the gym for women to get themselves checked on all three weighing scales so they have yet another thing to whine about. Oh! Only three hundred grams? What, still sixty-seven?

Let's look at it this way - just because you have never had a show-down with your mother-in-law, is it safe to assume that you love her? No? There you go. The number on the weighing scale is as much an indicator of health, fitness and beauty, as the absence of a showdown is an indicator of love. Or standing first in class an indicator of smartness. Even schools are now adopting more holistic......'

You can grab your copy here:

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Missed Out This Sneaky-Peeky Sunday

Im awfully sorry I missed out sharing the Sneaky-Peeky Sunday page with you guys. Its not like I'm not reading, in fact I'm reading two books simultaneously right now, but you see, this Sunday I was out for a very major thingy - getting inked !!!!

Yes, I have been wanting to get inked for a long long time now, nothing too fancy, but a small design on my neck line. And finally, this Sunday, I managed to get my first (and I think only) tattoo....

Since I do not pre-post the Sneaky-Peeky Sunday pages, I missed out this time, but I will surely try and keep the deadlines in mind in future....

Have a fun time reading guys and let me know whats keeping you occupied these days...

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On The Cover: The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards

Here's a look at the cover jacket of this beautiful book titled 'The Memory Keeper's Daughter' by Kim Edwards.

On the cover:

"In The Memory Keeper's Daughter, Kim Edwards has created a tale of regret and redemption....of characters haunted by their past. Crafted with language so lovely you have to reread the passages just to be captivated all over again...simply a beautiful book." - Jodi Picoult

THIS STUNNING NOVEL BEGINS ON A WINTER NIGHT IN 1964, when a blizzard forces Dr. David Henry to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy, but the doctor immediately recognises that his daughter has Down's syndrome. For motives he tells himself are good, he makes a split-second decision that will haunt their lives forever. He asks his nurse, Caroline, to take the baby away to an institution. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child as her own. Compulsively readable and deeply moving, The Memory Keeper's Daughter is a brilliantly crafted story of parallel lives, familial secrets, and the redemptive power of love.

"Kim Edwards writes with great wisdom and compassion....This is a wonderful, heartbreaking, heart-healing novel." - Luanne Rice

"Anyone would be struck by the extraordinary power and sympathy of The Memory Keeper's Daughter." - The Washington Post

"Kim Edwards has written a novel so mesmerizing that I devoured it." - Sena Jeter Naslund

"Edwards is a born novelist...The Memory Keeper's Daughter is rich with psychological detail and the nuances of human connection." - Chicago Tribune

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, October 10, 2011

First Page Mondays: Treasures by Belva Plain

As part of the First Page Mondays here on The Book Worm, here's the first page from author Belva Plain's novel Treasures

'The two United States marshals, who had come to make an arrest, parked their inconspicuous black car, got out and looked up at the ornamental modern roof of the sixty-five-storied tower. Sombre rain clouds drooped over the city, releasing their first drops just as the pair in their plain dark suits reached the bronze doors that fronted the avenue. The younger man, who seemed almost imperceptibly to hesitate, followed the other across the marble floor to the long rank of elevators. This was no ordinary assignment today, nor was this a part of New York into which he usually was sent, and he was feeling a certain tension. It bothered him that he did. It was unprofessional.

"It seems funny in a way to handcuff the guy," he said. 'Guy'll be wearing a Brooks Brothers suit probably. You know what I mean? He's not an armed thug.'

'But you can't ever tell what a person will do. He could go off his nut and start punching. Or he could even head for the window. Press the forty-first floor, will you?'

The elevator slid upward silently as if on silken cords, while a red light efficiently marked each number as it passed.

'Smells of money, doesn't it, Jim?' remarked the younger.

'Sure does. And lots of it.'

'Wonder what the guy really did. Really, I mean.'

'God knows. You've got to be a high-priced lawyer to figure it out. I wouldn't bother to try.'

'Seems kind of sad, doesn't it? Being hauled off from a place like this.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: The Day of The Butterfly by Norah Lofts

As part of the Sneaky Peeky Sundays here on The Book Worm, here's the page I am currently reading from the book The Day of The Butterfly by author Norah Lofts. (This is a complimentary review copy sent by BookSneeze and not a paid copy.)

'Alongside his unwillingness to tell what he called pretty lies on canvas, there was another obstacle to success. He drank. Not moderately and regularly and what he could afford, but in fits and starts, sober for a month and then blind, sodden drunk for a week or ten days. Kitty knew because although she had not recommended him again as a portraitist she had put other jobs in his way. Her supper room frescoes; the cloud-and-cherub ceilings in two of her most expensive bedrooms were much admired, and some people wanted their places similarly decorated. You'd have thought that was the sort of work he couldn't muck up. Yet he did, time and again. He'd begin, get so far and then go on the booze.

Kitty believed that the coincidence between the good, paying jobs and the drunken fits was due to the fact that he had money. She was quite wrong. He'd begin, get so far and then the feeling would sweep over him. Here am I, the best painter in the world, able to paint people's souls as well as their faces, and I'm painting God-damned cherubs on bloody ceilings! The only way of escape was to drink.

Why she hadn't long ago given him up as hopeless Kitty never could understand, but somehow she never had. Something about him appealed to something in her, and if too long elapsed before he exercised the right of entry, the right to eat and drink whatever he liked, free of charge, she'd send somebody round to the dreadful-sounding place where he lived, an attic over a greengrocer's shop in Soho.

Now, thanks to a girl so rightly, yet so wrongly, named Daisy, she could send for him and offer him a job, which by God he couldn't muck up or dodge away from, for he'd be under her eye all the time. And that would be a short time.

Jacky came on call. He was sober, though Kitty's experienced eye could tell that the drunken fir was not far in the past; eyes still a bit bleary, hands not too steady. He was, however, clean and well groomed and wearing the formal black and white that constituted the dinner wear of a gentleman. He was a gentleman, Kitty knew; she could always tell by the voice, but his clothing was apt to be erratic.'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Recently Read, Just Finished Reading And What I Am Reading Now

Been a lovely time with all these books here with me. And I have seriously been spoiled for choice. But Im not complaining :)

So here's the list of the books I have been reading recently, am reading, and am next gonna pick up to read. Have a look people:

Recently Read:

Dork by Sidin Vadukut

You can order the book at an amazing discount directly through Crossword here:

Or you can check it out at Amazon:

Known Turf by Annie Zaidi

You can order the book at an amazing discount directly through Crossword here:

Or you can check it out at Amazon:

Reading Now:

The Day of The Butterfly by Norah Lofts

You can order your copy through Amazon:

Will read next:

Treasuring Emma by Kathleen Fuller

You can order the book here on Amazon:

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

A Big Thank You To All Of You

Its been a great journey out here. What started out as just a way to express my interest in books and my love for the written world has now translated to a zone where I got to meet so many amazing people from all around the world and make new friends.

It is an amazing experience to come in touch with people sitting in a different part of the world, talking about the same books that you have read and loved, recommending books, sharing new books, discussing books, and telling you that yes, the world of book lovers still exists, as contrary to what people may believe these days - that book lovers are becoming a rarity - no, we aren't!

I want to use this post to thank ALL you lovely people for your amazing support. To each one of you who has taken out time to visit this blog. To each one of you who decided to 'follow' this blog. To each one of you who took out time to share a comment and to honestly tell me what you felt about a particular post or book that I talked about.

And yes, a big big big thanks is for all of you who decided I was good enough to be given the opportunity of reading and reviewing your book here. To all those who sent me books from all across the globe, to all the authors, publishers, publicists, book communities, book sites who sent me their books and their love - THANK YOU to each and every one of you for making me feel so wonderful about this lovely little thing I started here as The Book Worm, something that was simply a personal book journal, but now is muc more...

Thanks to you all and I look forward to always reading your honest comments and feedback....

Keep reading people and have the best of times :)

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, October 3, 2011

First Page Mondays: Rising Sun by author Michael Crighton

As part of the First Page Mondays on The Book Worm, here's the firs page of the book 'Rising Sun' by Michael Crighton..

'Actually, I was sitting on my bed in my apartment in Culver City, watching the Lakers game with the sound turned off, while I tried to study vocabulary for my introductory Japanese class.

It was a quiet evening; I had gotten my daughter to sleep about eight. Now I had the cassette player on the bed, and the cheerful woman's voice was saying things like, "Hello, I am a police officer. Can I be of assistance?" and "Please show me the menu." After each sentence, she paused for me to repeat it back, in Japanese. I stumbled along as best as I could. Then she would say, "The vegetable store is closed. Where is the post office?" Things like that. Sometimes it was hard to concentrate, but I was trying. "Mr. Hayashi has two children."

I tried to answer. "Hayashi-san wa kodomo ga fur....futur...." I swore. But by then the woman was talking again.

"This drink is not very good at all."

I had my textbook open on the bed, alongside a Mr. Potato Head I'd put back together for my daughter. Next to that, a photo album, and the pictures from her second birthday party. It was four months after Michelle's party, but I still hadn't put the pictures in the album. You have to try and keep up with that stuff.

"There will be a meeting at two o'clock."

The pictures on my bed didn't reflect reality any more. Four months later Michelle looked completely different. She was taller, she'd outgrown the expensive party dress my.......'

For those of you who wish to grab a copy, click here:

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: Known Turf by author Annie Zaidi

Hey guys, Im still reading Annie Zaidi's Known Turf. So as part of the Sneaky-Peeky Sunday here on The Book Worm, here's the page I am currently on.

'...offered at a very personal altar. For each generation, there is a new kind of sound, and though I don't care for rock, Sufi verses have returned to newer generations with Rabbi's cover of 'Bulla ki jaana main kaun?'

Written by Bulle-Shah, saint-poet of the fifteenth century, the verse says, 'I do not know who I am.' This is a recurrent theme in Sufi verse: not being able to define the self. It is also an everyday theme for many of us. We know so little about ourselves or what life means, that it drives us to distraction. Sometimes, literally.

Once upon a time in a village in Punjab, there was a mast fakir called Wali Allah. When one says 'mast fakir', one refers to a drifting, wandering type of man, clearly seeking something that is not of the world; he might be unkempt, eccentric and perhaps not quite all there; he might often go about naked and be frequently chased or beaten or stoned by villagers.

One evening Wali Allah was being chased by a hostile mob. Wali Allah was running for his life when he saw a wall, and he jumped over it to crouch behind it, hiding from the mob. It turned out that there were already hiding behind this wall; a bunch of little boys eating stolen mangoes. They were scared by the sudden appearance of a naked fakir, and started screaming 'Who's it? Who is this?'

The equally frightened Wali babbling: 'That is what I don't know either. That is just what I don't know!'

All fakirs, sufis and pirs have at least one special legend associated with their names that makes them the pride of the dera, where they're buried and remembered. This one was told to me by Punjabi writer Desraj Kali, who happened to be one of those little.....'

Get your discounted copy from Crossword here:

- Debolina Raja Gupta