Sunday, 30 November 2014

General Whimsy: Bag Lady. Part- I.

If books are my No. 1 obsession, bags come a close second. Or maybe they share the first spot of love and delight in my heart. I love bags. LOVE BAGS! 

Big bags, that fit my entire world.
Small bags for essentials.
Pencil bags. 
Coin purses. 

I love them all. 
Leather bag. 
Cloth Bags.
Bucket Bags.
Structured purses.
Mary Poppins bags that hold everything. 

There is so much to love. 

I can't resist a good bag and I love each and every bag I own. 
I try and change bags as often as possible, so that every bag in my closet gets a chance to be out and about in the world. 

These bags (the ones featured above) are some of the bags I've used and loved this year. 

From top to bottom, they are from: 

Holii from Hidesign 
Shaun Design backpack via Limeroad
Pouches from Forever 21. 

Saturday, 29 November 2014

Book Haul: Books of November 2014, Part- II.

My second book haul of the month was a bit unplanned and unintended. I was happy with my controlled state of book buying and there was no particular book I was in a tearing hurry to get my hands on. Till an email from Flipkart changed my mind. They were and still are having a pretty good Sale on over 5000 books. So I thought I'd take a little look around and see if something caught my eye. An hour later, I had 12 books in my cart and all for great deals. Like, really great deals.

Only 10 books are featured in this haul since two of them are still on their way to me. Once they get here, I'll show them to you eventually.

For now, here are 10 new books in my library/life.

Huzzah! I am so happy with this haul of mine. Exciting books and all at such bargains. 

In Custody- Anita Desai
Baumgartner's Bombay- Anita Desai 
A Teaspoon of Earth and Sea- Dina Nayeri 
The Stranger's Child- Alan Hollinghurst 
The New York Trilogy- Paul Auster 
Then Came You- Jennifer Weiner 
Curtain- Agatha Christie 
An Unexpected Guest- Agatha Christie 
The War of The Worlds- H.G. Wells 
Excess A Collection of Short Stories 

Happy Reading Guys. 
Hope you guys are having a good weekend. :)

Friday, 28 November 2014

Review: The Book of Fate by Parinoush Saniee.

Book: The Book of Fate

Author: Parinoush Saniee

Translated By: Sara Khalili

Pages: 447

How Long It Took Me To Read: 3 days

Read On: Paperback

Plot SummaryA bestselling novel in Iran, despite being banned twice by the government, The Book of Fate follows a teenage girl in pre-revolutionary Iran through five turbulent decades, from before the 1979 revolution, through the Islamic Republic, and up to the present in this powerful story of friendship, passion, and hope. 

A teenager in pre-revolutionary Tehran, Massoumeh is an average girl, passionate about learning. On her way to school she meets a local man and falls in love, but when her family discover his letters they accuse her of bringing them dishonour. She is badly beaten by her brother, and her parents hastily arrange for her to marry to a man she's never met. Facing a life without love, and the prospect of no education, Massoumeh is distraught, but a female neighbour urges her to comply: "We each have a destiny, and you can't fight yours." 

The years that follow Massoumeh's wedding prove transformative for Iran. Hamid, Massoumeh's husband, is a political dissident and a threat to the Shah's oppressive regime. When the secret service arrive to arrest him, it is the start of a terrifying period for Massoumeh. Her fate, so long dictated by family loyalty and tradition, is now tied to the changing fortunes of her country. Spanning five turbulent decades of Iranian history, from before the 1979 revolution, through the Islamic Republic, and up to the present, The Book of Fate is a truly remarkable story and a rare insider's view of Iranian society.

General Thoughts: Another book I randomly picked up at the bookstore. I loved reading about other cultures and am always curious about other people live. I read Persepolis two years ago and loved it. I wanted to read another book about Iran and I am glad I read this book. 

Things I Loved: 

1. The setting and the sheer scope of this novel was wonderful. We get to see the life of this girl/woman from when she is a naive 16 year old to when her children are all grown-up and have kids of their own. I love sweeping sagas like this. 

2. The atmosphere of Iran was captured very well, it really felt like I was there, in a country in turmoil. 

3. I liked Massoumeh. I liked her spirit, her determination and love for learning. I loved reading about her life, her struggles, the decisions she makes and the woman she becomes. 

4. I couldn't put this book down, I was so invested in the story and was curious to find out what happened to Massoumeh. 

5. There are so many characters in this book but it never felt crowded or overwhelming. 

6. I loved how realistic this book was and how incredibly real and genuine it felt. Apart from the socio-political aspects of the book that seemed real and fraught with tension and danger. Even the everyday life of ordinary people and their issues seemed genuine and heartfelt. 

7. The decisions Massoumeh makes, especially in the end were not to my liking but and very importantly they were true to the situation she was in. It was realistic and I really appreciated it. 

8. I liked that even though Massoumeh was a good person and a devoted mother, her kids weren't all shiny and perfect and evolved and modern and open-minded. They were a product of their country and their thoughts and opinions couldn't exist in a void. They couldn't have the opinions very far removed from their culture. 

9. I liked Massoumeh and Hamid's relationship, it wasn't perfect or romantic or even loving, still it made for interesting reading. 

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. The writing was anything special but I am guessing that could possibly have something to do with the translation. Translated books sometimes seem a little stilted. 

2. Some portions of the book seemed a little repetitive. The part where Massoumeh's husband is released from prison and a few months later is once again hounded and chased and captured felt a little too like the same thing. 

Rating: 4/5 

I really enjoyed this book and was engrossed in it from the word go! 

Thursday, 27 November 2014

General Whimsy: Things I am Thankful For.

1. I am so very thankful for coffee. I can't do without it. 

2. Thankful for my books. The ability to buy them. Keep them. Read them. So very grateful. 

3. Thankful for cupcakes. They are delicious. :) 

4. Wait, did I already say coffee? What can I say? I am super grateful for coffee! 

5. Very grateful and thankful for nature, beauty and serenity. 

6. Very thankful for the food on my plate. Thankful for the people who cook me delicious meals and so thankful that I can cook myself. 

7. So thankful for hot-chocolate and well, chocolate in general. Can't imagine life without it. 

8. Grateful and thankful for silver jewellery, I love it and I am thankful for it's pretty presence in my life. 

9. I am thankful for the quiet moments. For peace and serenity. I am so grateful for my home, my safe haven and the moments of peace I feel here. 

10. I am so thankful for cute shoes! ;) 

11. I am so thankful for writing, journaling and the written word. Writing makes me happy. And I am thankful that I get to do this. 

12. But mostly and most importantly I am thankful for my family. Their love, support and humour and kindness. I am so thankful for their health and happiness. 

Thanksgiving is not something we celebrate in India. It is not my festival. But any day that focusses on giving thanks for your blessings is a good day in my opinion. I am a big believer in being grateful and counting your blessings. Being thankful for all that is good in your life. 

Today I am cooking up a storm...well a small feast, any excuse for good food really! Watching a movie and then reading my book and having the kind of day I am always thankful for. 

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Review: The Secret Children by Alison McQueen.

Book: The Secret Children

Author: Alison McQueen

Pages: 448

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2-3 days

Plot Summary: Assam, 1925. James MacDonald is a son of the empire who has no yearning for England. Running a tea plantation, he loves India and is reluctant to choose a British bride from the eager crowds sent over. But when he takes a beautiful young Indian woman as his courtesan, he can little imagine what he has begun.

So starts the story of Mary and Serafina. Born of two worlds, accepted by neither. Growing up beloved but hidden away, their childhood is one of contradiction. It is only as the shadow of war falls and the turmoil of Indian partition begins, that the girls must face the truth about their parents and begin the search for somewhere to belong.

It will be a journey full of forbidden questions, hidden answers, heartbreak and determination. As Serafina and Mary grow into women, they must risk everything and make choices with a legacy that will last a lifetime, and beyond.

General Thoughts: I randomly came across this book while browsing the shelves at Crossword bookstore, I had never heard of this book before and would have never picked it up had I not chanced upon it. I am so glad I did, I really enjoyed this book and I can't recommend it enough. 

Things I Liked: 

1. I enjoyed the writing. It did a very good job at getting inside the life of these characters and create the atmosphere of 1920s India. I especially loved the descriptions of Assam and life in a tea-garden. 

2. I loved a look into a side of Colonialism that I only vaguely knew about, the fact that English men had illicit relationships with Indian women and even had kids with them wasn't unknown to me. But I hadn't ever read a book about it and seen all sides of the situation. The effect it had on the woman, the man and especially the children that were born out of this union. 

3. When I picked this book up, for some reason, a fault entirely my own, I somehow thought the English man and the Indian woman were in love. Like this was a love-story...sort of. It came as surprise that that was certainly not the case. The woman, is his mistress, his concubine. This was a surprise and made for interesting reading. 

4. I liked all the characters in this book. Big and small. But I especially loved Mary and the maid who helped raise the girls. I really liked her, she is loyal, kind and devoted to the family she serves. My heart broke for her. I also felt really bad about Chinthimani, the mother/courtesan, she was so naive in the beginning and got so bitter as time went by. I felt really bad about her life, she had no say in the matter and had to pretty much do what her 'man' expected out her. She had live by his rules and was hopelessly in love with him. 

5. Serafina was a complicated and intense character. Her reaction to the truth of her situation often seemed harsh but it made sense at the same time. The shame she feels and tries so hard to erase her past and where she comes from is heart-breaking but rings true. 

6. The book also has shows the girls in boarding school with children of a similar situation. I love reading about boarding schools and adore reading about them. 

7. I also enjoyed the parts set in Bombay (my city), it even mentioned a hospital I briefly interned at. So it was fun to read about a familiar place. :) 

8. I liked the bond the sisters share. It's not overly sentimental and close and typical but it's strong and shows it's depth in a wonderful way. I love reading about sisters and these sisters made for good reading. 

9. It was interesting to see that two children in the exact same situation, who come from the same family, same background have such profoundly different reactions to it. 

10. The father, James, was incredibly interesting to say the least. I liked that he had such layers and such conflicted feelings about his 'family'. I found it interesting that he loved his kids, adored them and was devoted to their welfare but at the same time he had pretty much no emotional connect to their mother. It was rather shitty how he treats Chinthimani later. It made me mad how easily he got over her and didn't engage with her at all. It was a shitty way to treat a human being, let alone the mother of your children. 

11. Dorothy, James's wife was an interesting character, her acceptance of the situation and the way she deals with the children and how she kept in touch with them till the very end was endearing. 

12. I also loved the Bombay bits, Mary's working life and her two fun roommates and their adventures and lifestyle was a fun read. 

Things I Didn't Like: 

1. As much as I liked the boarding school bit, I felt it was a bit too long and that portion of the book was dragged on for a little much. 

2. A lot of things were left unsaid and unexplained, the end to me seemed a tad bit abrupt. 

3. Chinthimani was treated so shabbily it broke my heart. What I didn't like was how casual the girls were about the whole thing. She was their mother. She wasn't perfect, she was mess in fact, but still, wouldn't you want to know what happened to your mother? Where she ended up? Was she even alive? 

4. I also felt that James, even though he did the decent thing by providing for his girls, he wasn't the best parent. It didn't make sense to me how he didn't really keep in touch with his daughters. It seemed like he didn't really care and was just doing his duty. 

Rating: 4.5/5 

I loved this book and I can't recommend it enough. 

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Book Haul: Books of November 2014, Part- I.

It's been a while since I did a physical books haul on this blog. It's been a while since I bought physical books, I got only two books in October and felt silly hauling them. 

All of these books I picked up from Kitaab Khana a week ago. I've already read one of these books and I am excited about the rest. Some of these have been on my radar for a while and others were picks I just happened to stumble across. Personally, I love picking up books by the by. Just finding a book that looks appealing on the bookshelf and flipping through the pages and getting it home. For that reason alone, I'll forever love buying books from bookshops. :) 

Moriarty- Anthony Horowitz (So excited for this book!)
Wreaking- James Scudamore 
Solitaire- Alice Oseman (already read this.) 
The Girl With all The Gifts- M.R, Carey (read his half and put it down, for now.) 
The Dinner- Herman Koch (I have heard amazing things about this book!) 

There will be another book haul soon, I just ordered some books online this morning and they should hopefully arrive before the month is up. 

Saturday, 22 November 2014

A Day in The Life of Me: Coffee and Shopping With Mum.

Mum and I like our little outings, we drink some coffee, hit the shops and come back home with a few treasures. Here we are getting out coffee on, me with my Ice-Blended Caramel Latte and Mum with her Vanilla Latte. 

I am loving star prints right now. Honestly, I've been looking high and low for star prints and only finally have managed to find them in abundance. Both of these are from Zara. 

Armcandy- I love this daisy chain bracelet of mine. Simple, sweet and goes with pretty much everything. It reminds me of the 1970s, the hippies and fields of flowers. All good things. 

My darling little bag. I love, love, love this bag of mine. Small but fits enough. And I adore the heart print and the tan colour. I am drawn to tan bags and can't get enough of them. 

Bag and shopping bag. My Zara habit is a little out of control. I don't mind it one bit! :)

I love shopping days with my Mum. We talk ,we walk, we shop and just have a good time. Shopping with my Dad is fun too, only he thinks I already own everything we see! Dads, I tell you! 

Friday, 21 November 2014

Friday Favourites: Stationery + Pouches + Nail Paints + Pretty Prints.

1. A bunch of colourful, double-ended pens and my gorgeously simple Field-Notes books. I haven't yet gotten around to using these notebooks but I will do so in the new year. I cannot wait. :) 

2. A gorgeous raw-silk pouch with a hint of Kashida embroidery. We got this from Fabindia and love it's bright colour and the simple strip of print. 

3. My favourite iPad case. Love, love, love! This one is from Accessorize and I adore it. Love the print and on top of it my sister's Aldo glassed. 

4. Two new nail-paints from Inglot, I absolutely adore the Inglot nail-polishes. 

5. Darling aren't they? Sticky notes from Accessorize. I have hard time using them. They are so pretty! 

Have a nice weekend guys. 

Mine will include some cooking, cleaning and hopefully reading! 
I am currently reading two books at once, a rare occurrence in my world. I should hopefully finish at least one of them over the weekend. 

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Book Haul: eBooks of November 2014.

These two books have already been read and reviewed. Just look below for the reviews :) 

I've read a few books by Cecelia Ahern and enjoyed most of them. She is one of my favourite chick-lit authors, so when I heard that she had a new book out, I had to check it out. 

Jason Segel from How I Met Your Mother fame wrote this middle-grade book and I just couldn't resist it!!! ) It's lovely and beautiful and full of pretty illustrations! So gorgeous. I am so excited to read this book. 

I've been hearing all sorts of amazing things about this book and had to give it a try. It's post-apocalyptic-ish from what I can make out. Should be a fun read and that cover with the night sky is simply gorgeous. 

I love this batch of eBooks I have acquired, a mix of fiction, non-fiction and YA and chick-lit. I love my books when they are a good mix. :) 

Two books have been read from this bunch and I am so excited to read the rest. 

Happy Reading Guys  :)