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Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson



The more I am reading this book, the more amazing and inspiring and insightful its turning out to be...Really friends, I suggest all of you must give this one a good read....The book Im talking about is Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson and here's the page I am currently reading...

'...bonus, Bushnell told him, for every chip fewer than fifty that he used. Bushnell knew that Jobs was not a great engineer, but he assumed, correctly, that he would recruit Wozniak, who was always hanging around. "I looked at it as a two-for-one thing," Bushnell recalled. "Woz was a better engineer."

Wozniak was thrilled when Jobs asked him to help and proposed splitting the fee. "This was the most wonderful offer in my life, to actually design a game that people would use," he recalled. Jobs said it had to be done in four days and with the fewest chips possible. What he hid from Wozniak was the deadline was one that Jobs had imposed, because he needed to get to the All One Farm to help prepare for the apple harvest. He also didn't mention that there was a bonus tied to keeping down the number of chips.

"A game like this might take most engineers a few months," Wozniak recalled. "I thought that there was no way I could do it, but Steve made me sure that I could." So he stayed up four nights in a row and did it. During the day at HP, Wozniak would sketch out his design on paper. Then, after a fast-food meal, he would go right to Atari and stay all night. As Wozniak churned out the design, Jobs sat on a bench to his left implementing it by wire-wrapping the chips onto a breadboard. "While Steve was breadboarding, I spent time playing my favourite game ever, which was the auto racing game Grand Trak 10," Wozniak said.

Astonishingly, they were able to get the job done in four days, and Wozniak used only forty-five chips. Recollections differ, but by most accounts Jobs simply gave Wozniak half of the base fee and not the bonus Bushnell paid for saving five chips. It would be another ten years before Wozniak discovered (by being showed the tale in a book on the history of Atari titles Zap) that Jobs had been paid the bonus. "I think that Steve needed the money, and he just didn't tell me the truth," Wozniak later said. When he talks about it now, there are long pauses, and he admits that it causes him pain. "I wish he had just been honest. If he had told me he needed the money, he should have known I would have just given it to him. He was a friend. You help your friends." To Wozniak, it showed a fundamental difference in their characters.......

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, November 21, 2011

First Page Mondays: Che Guevara: A Biography by Richard L. Harris


As part of the First Page Mondays here at The Book Worm, here's the first page of the book I am reading right now along with another. The book is Che Guevara: A Biography by Richard L. Harris

'Che Guevara was born on May 14, 1928 (although his birth certificate indicates he was born a month later, on June 14, 1928), in the Argentine city of Rosario, which is located in northern Argentina on the famous Parana River. His parents named him Ernesto (his father's first name) and as is the custom throughout Latin America, his full name consisted of both his father's family name and his mother's family name. Thus, as a boy and young man he was known as Ernesto Guevara de la Serna - Guevara being his father's family name and de la Serna being his mother's family name. Since he did not assume the first name of Che until much later in his life, in this chapter and the following two chapters, he will be referred to as Ernesto Guevara.

His parents were of upper-class origin. His father, Ernesto Guevara Lynch, was an entrepreneur and a builder-architect who studied architecture but never received his degree. During the more entrepreneurial phase of his career, he tried his hand at ranching, yacht building and the cultivation of mate (the herbal tea that is national drink in Argentina). However, he ended up as a builder-architect. His ancestry was both Spanish (Guevara) and Irish (Lynch) and one of his great-grandfathers was one of the wealthiest men in South America.....'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson


As part of the Sneaky-Peeky Sunday here at The Book Worm, here's the page from the book Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson that I am currently on....Its a huge book and I am reading this in between reading other books, so Im sure you'll keep reading a few more extracts from this book in the days to come :)

'....only real fight I ever got in with my dad," he said. But his father again bent to his will. "He wanted me to promise that I'd never use pot again, but I wouldn't promise." In fact by his senior years he was also dabbling in LSD and hash as well as exploring the mind-bending effects of sleep deprivation. "I was starting to get stoned a bit more. We would also drop acid occasionally, usually in fields or in cars."

He also flowered intellectually during his last two years in high school and found himself at the intersection, as he had begun to see it, of those who were geekily immersed in electronics and those who were into literature and creative endeavors. "I started to listen to music a whole lot, and I started to read more outside of just science and technology - Shakespeare, Plato. I loved King Lear." His other favourites include Moby-Dick and the poems of Dylan Thomas. I asked him why he related to King Lear and Captain Ahab, two of the most willful and driven characters in literature, but he didn't respond to the connection I was making, so I let it drop. "When I was a senior I had this phenomenal AP English class. The teacher was this guy who looked like Ernest Hemingway. He took a bunch of us snowshoeing in Yosemite."

One course that Jobs took would become part of Silicon Valley lore: the electronics class taught by John McCollum, a former Navy pilot who had a showman's flair for exciting his students with such tricks as firing up a Telsa coil. His little stockroom, to which he would lend the key to pet students, was crammed with transistors and other components he had scored.

McCollum's classroom was in a shed-like building on the edge of the campus, next to the parking lot. "This is where it was," Jobs recalled as he peered in the window, "and here, next door, is where the auto shop class used to be." The juxtaposition highlighted the shift from the interests of his father's generation. "Mr. McCollum felt that electronics class was the new auto class."

McCollum believed in military discipline and respect for authority. Jobs didn't. His aversion to authority was something he no longer tried to hide, and he affected an attitude that combined wiry and weird intensity with aloof rebelliousness. McCollum later said, "He was usually off in a corner doing something on his own and really didn't want to have much of anything to do with either me or the rest of the class." He.....

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Few Snatches From Here And There: Musings Of A Wanderer


I absolutely have to start this post by apologising to Shreya Chatterjee, poet, wanderer, who sent me this book ages ago and asked me to read it and talk about it if I like....I told her I am not a poetry person per-se, but she asked me to have a look nevertheless...And the book has been sitting in my bookshelf for so many weeks now, waiting for me to pick it up while I was reading the other books that were lined for review...

Like I said, I am NOT a poetry person, and have never talked about any poetry book here on this blog, but this book sure needs a mention as the verses here are in reality more of random thoughts that sit perfectly in prose.

About the book:
Title: Musings of a Wanderer
Author: Shreya Chatterjee
No. of Pages: 93
INR: Rs.100

Here's what you'll see on the cover jacket:
'For I write, what I see
And speak of
Things I feel.
Thus "Musings of a Wanderer"
Stand true to its name.

Indeed the MUSINGS OF A WANDERER speaks volumes about the simplest of things that quietly becomes a part of our lives. It speaks of failing and triumphs. The poet speaks of expressions of living moments and of those that are perhaps never to see the light of the day. You will find monsoon peeping, you will find, romance lingering and as a sense of determination that ebbs inside a young mind.

Think of a blogger, who lives with the belief, life is nothing but a meandering river or a path. Here you get to meet and forget people, you get to run through darkness and regal in the glory of refreshing sun rays. She speaks of life you are able to see unfolding in front of you. She speaks of your life and of all the others, around you.

Shreya Chatterjee is a writer by profession, poet by will. She lives in Kolkata with her parents and her loving books.


- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Review: ‘The Bridge: Between ‘Cell Block A’ and A ‘Miracle’ is Psalm 91’ by Jackie Carpenter


Title: ‘The Bridge: Between ‘Cell Block A’ and A ‘Miracle’ is Psalm 91’
Author: Jackie Carpenter
No. of Pages: 115
ISBN: 978-1-61579-685-4

* This is a complimentary copy sent by the author and BookPleasures and is NOT a purchased copy.

Jackie Carpenter’s book ‘The Bridge: Between ‘Cell Block A’ and A ‘Miracle’ is Psalm 91’ is based on the true story of her son Jason Veitch, who was arrested and charged with felony murder in 2008 in the small town of Georgia. Jason, a preacher and homebuilder, was arrested in the accidental death of a suspected burglar at one of his construction sites.

As Jackie Carpenter herself mentions in many parts of the book: ‘This book is totally inspired by God. I am not a writer, but God wrote a Best Seller.’

The book says based on a true story, so we can try and categorise it under non-fiction, or maybe crime non-fiction, but from the very first page, in fact from the cover of the book itself, it is very very clear that the book is more of a preacher and a personal way of saying thanks to the super-power that the author believes saved her son in the end.

A mere 115 pages, that too in very large print and some pages fully taken up with personal pictures of the family, the book is at most a one-hour read, much less so if you are a voracious reader.

The book is a personal testimony to a family’s faith in its God, more so the belief of a mother, in this case the author herself, who continues to keep her faith intact and believes that no matter what, God will take care and protect her son. She is a strong believer in chapter 91 of the book of Psalm and throughout the devastating incidents that follow her son’s arrest, she never once wavers from her faith.

There is a spate of burglary in many of the construction sites that Jason has, and under the advice of officials, Jason sets out one night to catch the thieves red-handed and end the crisis then and there. He is advised that a police patrol team will be nearby to attend to his call the moment he sees something suspicious, and is assured that official help will be near at hand the moment he manages to confront any of the suspects. He waits outside the woods near the construction site, nervous, scared, praying that no one sees him and that help arrives soon. But no matter how much he sits and prays, a sudden turn of events leads to an accidental shooting, one that sees Jason charged with one count of felony murder, three counts of aggravated assault and one count of possession of possession of a firearm during commission of a felony. As the charges are being read out, it is clear that Jason will be led away to prison, as his family, young wife and toddler son wait for him with tears.

Jackie Carpenter’s writing is more of a chronology of the events that happened in the exact order. The book is intended to tell her personal story and that is what it does, nowhere in the story do you feel it is made up, in fact it comes out as too personal, the story of a family brought closer in times of a tragedy.

This book, though well-written and with the ability to tug at your heartstrings, may not appeal to everyone, as it constantly talks about God, the Bible, the Psalm and other chapters. It will especially be difficult to relate to the same if you are a non-Christian like me, more so an atheist like me. But I chose to read the book as a personal testament of a woman whose son is being taken away to prison, and the courage she shows in the face of this horrific tragedy. Read this book as a personal journal, and if you feel the God-words are too over-powering and overwhelming, try and focus on the story instead. It’s a good story that will appeal to all, just a little toning down of the God-element would have worked a little better is all I can say.

* Debolina Raja Gupta is an international book reviewer with BookPleasures


- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, November 14, 2011

My Reading List Today

Wow....so been doing a lot of interesting reading of late....and here's what is on my book list as of now... Recently Finished Reading:
Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh Currently Reading: My Dearest Rose by Jessie McClain
Also Reading:
Steve Jobs biography by Walter Isaacson Dying To Read:
The Camerons by Robert Crichton
The Biography of Che Guevara

- Debolina Raja Gupta

First Page Mondays: My Dearest Rose by Jessie McClain


As part of the First Page Mondays here at The Book Worm, here's the first page of the book I am reading right now. 'My Dearest Rose' by Jessie McClain.

* This is a complimentary review copy sent by the author and BookPleasures and not a purchased copy.


'My day starts just like usual. My mother, Cassie, staring at me as I wake up screaming and drenched in a cold sweat. I glance at the clock on my nightstand. Too early for me, six fifty-four. Atleast yesterday the screaming didn't come until nine. My mother continues to stare with a look of pity on her face. I hate that look.

"Iris, you need to move on. It's been four years and you still scream almost every night. I'm going to send you to therapy." The look on her face went from pity to annoyance. Why does she even pretend to care?

"Mom, just stop. First off, you don't have to come in here every time I have a bad dream, and secondly, you can't send me anywhere. I'm an adult, remember?" Now I'm starting to get irritated.

"Are you going to look for a job today?" she continues.

"No mom, I have a job. I sing. I know you don't like it, but I do. It's the only thing I enjoy. Also, I work at the shop. Another thing you don't like, but I enjoy that too." The irritation is growing.

"Well, I really wouldn't consider that a job," she says as she walks out of my room. I roll over on my stomach and bury my face in the pillow breathing in the scent. Lavender.

I roll back over onto my back, and look around my room. It's not the best looking room, but suitable for me. Cozy even. I scan the room eyeing my terra cotta coloured walls and posters, all the way up to my dream catchers in every corner, including the one over my bed. From my experience, they don't seem to work. I got them with my discount at the shop, Sun Spirit. Finally I rest on one solitary picture underneath my window on a stand. A picture that seems it was taken a lifetime.....'


- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson




As part of the Sneaky Peeky Sundays here with The Book Worm, here's a page from the biography of the late Steve Jobs...The book is called 'Steve Jobs' by author Walter Isaacson.

'...operator, hard-core electronics guy," Jobs recalled. "He would bring me stuff to play with." As we walked up to Lang's old house, Jobs pointed to the driveway. "He took a carbon microphone and a battery and a speaker, and he put it on this driveway. He had me talk into the carbon mike and it amplified out of the speaker." Jobs had been taught by his father that microphones always require an electronic amplifier. "So I raced home, and I told my dad that he was wrong."

"No, it needs an amplifier," his father assured him. When Steve protested otherwise, his father said he was crazy. "It can't work without an amplifier. There's some trick."

"I kept telling no to my dad, telling him he had to see it, and finally he actually walked down with me and saw it. And he said, "Well I'll be a bat out of hell."

Jobs recalled the incident vividly because it was his first realisation that his father did not know everything. Then a more disconcerting discovery began to dawn on him: He was smarter than his parents. He had always admired his father's competence and savvy. "He was not an educated man, but I had always thought he was pretty damn smart. He didn't read much, but he could do a lot. Almost everything mechanical, he could figure it out." Yet the carbon microphone incident, Jobs said, began a jarring process of realising that he was in fact more clever and quick than his parents. "It was a very big moment that's burned into my mind. When I realised that I was smarter than my parents, I felt tremendous shame for having thought that. I will never forget that moment." This discovery, he later told friends, along with the fact that he was adopted, made him feel apart - detached and separate - from both his family and the world.

Another layer of awareness occurred soon after. Not only did he discover that he was brighter than his parents, but he discovered that they knew this. Paul and Clara Jobs were loving parents, and they were willing to adapt their lives to suit a son who was very smart - and also willful. They would go to great lengths to accommodate him. And soon Steve discovered this fact as well. "Both my parents got me. They felt a lot of responsibility once they sensed that I was special. They found ways to keep feeding me stuff and putting me in better schools. They were willing to defer to my needs."


- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, November 11, 2011

On The Cover: I Walked The Line: My Life With Johnny by Vivian Cash, with Ann Sharpsteen


If you love Johnny Cash you've probably also watched the movie 'Walk The Line', so you already have a fair guess of what this book is all about. 'I Walked The Line: My Life With Johnny' is the story told from the point of view of Johnny Cash's wife Vivian Cash (the two later divorced).....

Here's the blurb from the cover jacket:


'A wildly romantic book but also a sad and wrenching one, a testament to the destructive powers of hope pushed past the breaking point' - New York Times

The elegant, revealing and powerful memoir of Vivian Cash, Johny Cash's first wife and the mother to his four daughters, I Walked The Line is the untold story of love, family and heartbreak in the life of an icon.

By Vivian's own choice, the details behind the demise of their fourteen-year-long marriage and the relationship they shared throughout the years have up until now remained secret. However, Vivian decided that, near the end of her life and with backing from Johnny, she should tell the whole story, even the parts at odds with the iconic Cash family image such as Johnny's drug problems: Vivian's confrontation with June Carter about her affair with Johnny and, most sensationally, the Cash family secret of June's lifelong addiction to drugs and the events leading up to her death. Also revealed are treasured family photographs and countless pages of unpublished love letters that Johnny agreed should be shared with the world.

I Walked The Line
is a powerful memoir of joy and happiness, injustice and triumph and is an essential read for fans of the greatest country music star of all time.'


- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

First Page Mondays: Simply Fly: A Deccan Odyssey by Captain Gopinath


As part of the First Page Mondays on The Book Worm, here's the first page of the book Simply Fly by Captain Gopinath.

* This book was part of the Vodafone Crossword Book Award 2010 and was sent as a complimentary copy through Crossword. This is NOT a purchased copy.


Growing Up By The River


Snuggled somewhere deep within the Western Ghats, beyond Mudigere, lies the source of a pretty river called Hemavathy. This is the south-western corner of Karnataka. Meandering through the lower ranges, the river flows past hundreds of small hamlets before joining the Kaveri as its principal tributary. Gorur, of which I have vivid and pleasant childhood memories of my parents and my home, is one such village situated along the banks of the Hemavathy. It is not surprising that people in these parts consider the river sacred, for Hemavathy is Gorur's lifeline, watering its fields and sustaining the settlements along its banks. Looking back with fondness, there is a realization that quaint old Gorur, attractive in its own way, holds a special place in my heart.

A few words may not be appropriate to describe the lush countryside and the alluring landscape of Gorur and its neighbourhood, where I spent my early years. Located 23 km to the south of Hassan, the district headquarters, the settlement has an abundance of coconut groves, areca plantations, betel-leaf creepers, paddy fields, and mango orchards. The village, like many others in this region, has been a beneficiary of the water management technology evolved over centuries by local chieftains and the maharajas of Mysore, who built check-dams further upstream to facilitate irrigation of thousands of acres of farmland. These stonework barriers were constructed employing simple, eco-friendly technology that caused no deforestation or displacement of local residents, allowing the river to flow perennially, supporting human, animal, and plant life all along its course.

Gorur lies on the fringes of Malnad, which means the 'land of hills' and also the 'land of rains' in Kannada. It refers specifically to the southern ranges of the Western Ghats of Karnataka and their foothills. Malnad features some well-known towns such as Mudigere, Chikmaglur, Shringeri, Madikeri, and Tirthahalli. The hillside is awash with coffee estates and dense pristine rainforests.'


- Debolina Raja Gupta

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sneaky-Peeky Sundays: The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh


As part of the Sneaky-Peeky Sunday here at The Book Worm, here's the page from the book The Shadow Lines by Amitav Ghosh that I am reading right now:

'....to think of him waiting for her at the station at Calcutta, but she had no idea what the station would be like. She thought of a more crowded version of Paddington, in London, and she saw him, waiting for her at the bookstall. She saw herself walking up to him, putting out a hand, saying very demurely, How-do-you-do. But he didn't respond - he smiled at her thinly, looking her over with bright, piercing eyes. He looked exactly as he did in the picture he had sent her - intense, saturnine, more than a little mad. And then she was really frightened: she didn't want to meet a man like that alone, in a strange country. That was when she sent my father a telegram asking him to meet her at the station.

But then, when she saw him, looking over my head, he wasn't at all like his picture. He looked awkward, absurdly young, and somehow very reassuring. Also a little funny, because his eyes were hugely magnified by those glasses of his, and he kept blinking in an anxious, embarrassed kind of way. She hadn't been able to help throwing her arms around him; it was just pure relief. She knew at last why she had come, and she was glad. It had nothing to do with curiosity.

She was given our guest room - a large, airy room which looked out over the garden. I would sit on the bed and watch her - writing letters, playing her recorder, brushing her hair. I loved the smell of her: the smell of shampoo and soap and something else, not perfume, I was sure, because I hated the smell of perfume. Something cool and breezy.

I leant over, picked at her pullover and sniffed at it. She drew back, startled.

"What's this now? What're you up to?"

I'm wondering whether you still smell the same, I told her.

And do I?

Yes, I said. You do. What do you smell of?

She sniffed her pullover herself and made a face: Sweat? Grime?

No - something else.

All right, she said, laughing. I'll confess, it's lavender water.

Later, in my adolescence, I was ashamed, nail-bitingly ashamed of staring at her like that, sniffing at her, fingering her clothes surreptitiously. I used to squirm thinking of how I had behaved, and then I would argue with myself, try to restore a........'




- Debolina Raja Gupta

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Classic Thursdays: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo




Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, literally meaning 'The Miserable Ones', is an 1862 French novel, widely considered as one of the greatest novels of the nineteenth century. It follows the lives and interactions of several French characters over a seventeen-year period in the early nineteenth century, starting in 1815 and culminating in the 1832 June Rebellion.

The novel focuses on the struggles of ex-convict Jean Valjean and his experience of redemption. It examines the nature of law and grace, and expatiates upon the history of France, architecture of Paris, politics, moral philosophy, antimonarchism, justice, religion, and the types and nature of romantic and familial love. The story is historical fiction because it contains factual and historic events. Contrary to what some believe, it does not use the French Revolution as a backdrop.

The first two volumes of Les Misérables were published on 3 April 1862, heralded by a massive advertising campaign; the remainder of the novel appeared on 15 May 1862. At the time, Victor Hugo enjoyed a reputation as one of France's foremost poets, and the appearance of the novel was a highly anticipated event.

Critical reactions were wide-ranging and often negative; some critics found the subject matter immoral, others complained of its excessive sentimentality, and still others were disquieted by its apparent sympathy with the revolutionaries.

The book was a great commercial success. First translated into foreign languages (including Italian, Greek, and Portuguese) the same year it originally appeared, it proved popular not only in France, but across Europe.

Les Misérables is known to many through its numerous stage and screen adaptations, most notably the stage musical of the same name.




- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thank You All


Hey all you lovely readers out there....from all parts of the globe...Just wanted to thank each and every one of you for taking out the time to drop by, for being so wonderful to me by subscribing to the blog, and for letting me know your comments and feedback....

I read each and every comment and mail and always try and respond to all communication personally. If, at any time, I have missed out on any comment and not replied, I am truly sorry.

Also, I would love it if you would share the links to your blog when you visit mine. I would surely visit your blog and subscribe if the same is to my interest. Just drop in the link in the comment box and next time when I see your comment I will come and visit.

You all have been great with your feedback and comments, and I especially appreciate it when someone has been critical of something and pointed out any error or difficulty one might have faced while viewing my blog. If you see, I have taken care to make sure that problem is resolved.

In the end, I again want to thank you all for your time and your love and support...And wish you all the best in all that you do....

Happy reading my lovely friends !!!!

- Debolina Raja Gupta