Thursday, 31 August 2017

Book Haul/// Books of August 2017, Part- II. Vintage Minis!


Hello! 

I want to share a tiny little book haul today of tiny little books! 
Mini books have been quite a trend in the publishing world in the last few years. 
I have some of the Penguin Minis and of course like everyone else went a bit mad for the Penguin Little Black Books! 

I didn't know that Vintage Books had their own little minis. 
I spotted a bunch of these when I was last browsing on Amazon and had to control myself and get only 3 of these to start with. They have some excellent title to choose from and I am definitely going to go back and get more. 

I love these mini books, they are a great way to read a little something when you are on the go, a nifty sized book to keep in your bag and or course a great way to sample a new writer. 




I am especially excited to finally read some Proust! 
I have meant read him for ages, if just to say I've read Proust! 
I hope I understand/enjoy this book! 




Books Bought

Jealously by Marcel Proust 
Sister by Louisa May Alcott 
Home by Salman Rushdie


Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Bullet Journal Set-Up/// June-July 2017.


Hello! 

As you may know, I have been loving using the Bullet Journal set up for a few months now. Since May, to be precise. 
I love it's convenience and I love making lists in it. 
Honestly, my BuJo is basically my place to make to-do lists in! 

I meant to share these pictures a long, long time back..but well...it kinda slipped through the cracks. 
But better late than never. 

This was my BuJo set-up for June and July. 
I used this utterly beautiful fabric dori from Lyra and Co made in this stunning Rifle Paper Co fabric. 
I was so happy using this set-up that I used it 2 months in a row. 


I decorated my dori with this bow that came in one of the Planner Society Kits. 
I felt like they went well together. 


The dori has a pocket on the inside and I used it to store some cute die-cuts and stickers, which I use in the course of the month. 


I used this first notebook in May. 
I have talked about it before. 
You can read it HERE.


Also in this front pocket I keep some nifty sticky-notes that come in handy throughout the month's planning and list-making. Plus they make my pages look lovely. 




I used this notebook for both June and July, it surprisingly had enough pages for two months. 



I always keep a pen with my Bujo since makes life easier. And my Bujo is a self contained unit. I don't need to reach for my pencil case incase I need to make a quick list. 


My traveller's notebook is from Lyra and Company.
My first notebook is from Filter. 
My red notebook is from Accessorize.
The sticky notes, bow,  die-cuts and pen are all from The Planner Society Kit. 
The paper clips from various Etsy stores that I don't remember now. 


Saturday, 26 August 2017

Stationery Haul/// Lyra & Co. Pencil Case and Micro Traveler's Notebook.

Hello!! 

Today I want to share a small haul of some delightful things I recently got from Lyra and Co.

A pencil case.
&
A micro sized fauxdori. 

This is a new size for me, I have some tiny notebooks in my stash and I felt it would be nice to have a traveller's notebook to house them in. I am thinking I might actually use this size for my Bujo next month. 
I wonder if it will be too small....we'll find out! 



Brown paper packages are some of the happiest things in life! 


Sock monkeys are the best! 
There is something so endearing about these delightful things. 
I love my sock monkey Laali that my sister got me from Boston, so when I saw this print in the shop I had to get it. 
Plus it's pink! 


This my second pencil case from the shop. 
It is nice and slim. 
My sister is currently using this, since I am very set with my pencil cases at the moment. 
The print on this pencil is so adorable. 
Love the expression on the girl/doll's face and the cat is so cute too! 




It is pink polka dot on the inside and it has a pocket too. 


Hope you guys are having a great Saturday. 

I am not feeling the best- I have a headache and my ears are buzzing too. But I am doing little things to take my mind off it, I am cooking some shahi paneer and arbi ki sabzi. 
Reading a good book. 
And watching some TV


Friday, 25 August 2017

Book Haul/// Books of August 2017 Part- I, All Indian Books.

Hello! 
Time to share Part- I of my August Book Haul. 
I bought a few good books this month and most of them are Indian, I guess I am fully immersed in my Indian Books in August theme. 
Some of these I am so tempted to read this month itself, I am trying to stick to my pre-decided TBR but these books are calling out to me!!!! 

Also there will an ebook haul soon of some thriller books I got mid-month when my sister was in a reading slump and was in desperate need of a fast paced thriller! 

But for now, let's jump into these books that I've added to my bookshelf this month! 

I got all of these books on Amazon during their big sale. Good deals, Good Books! What's not to love?!!! 



BOOKS BOUGHT 

The Crows of Agra by Sharath Komarraju 
One Thousand Days in a Refrigerator by Manoj Kumar Panda 
Three Thousand Stitches by Sudha Murty 
Pyre by Perumal Murugan 
In The Country of Deceit by Shashi Deshpande 
A Silence of Desire by Kamala Markandaya 
Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins 








I am so excited for this bunch of books. 
I love that they are mix of translated fictions, short stories and historical fiction! 
Yay!! 
There is so much variety in Indian Literature, you just need to explore and find something that you'll love! 

Happy Reading Folks! 


Thursday, 24 August 2017

Book Review: The Child by Fiona Barton



Book: The Child

Author: Fiona Barton

Pages: 368

Read on: Kindle

Read in: 3 hours

Publisher: Random House / TransWorld Digital

Plot Summary: As an old house is demolished in a gentrifying section of London, a workman discovers a tiny skeleton, buried for years. For journalist Kate Waters, it’s a story that deserves attention. She cobbles together a piece for her newspaper, but at a loss for answers, she can only pose a question: Who is the Building Site Baby?

As Kate investigates, she unearths connections to a crime that rocked the city decades earlier: A newborn baby was stolen from the maternity ward in a local hospital and was never found. Her heartbroken parents were left devastated by the loss.

But there is more to the story, and Kate is drawn—house by house—into the pasts of the people who once lived in this neighborhood that has given up its greatest mystery. And she soon finds herself the keeper of unexpected secrets that erupt in the lives of three women—and torn between what she can and cannot tell.


Things I Liked:
  • I had read and really enjoyed The Widow by Fiona Barton (have no idea why I didn't end up reviewing it on the blog!) and was so excited to see another book by her! The premise of the child is so interesting, isn't it?! An almost 30-year old skeleton of a baby is found when some old middle-lower-middle class houses are demolished. This discovery sets forth a chain of events that turns multiple people's lives upside down. What is not to love about that, eh? The best part, though, is that the book totally delivers on the promise of the premise!
  • The characters are so well developed. You get to know our three central characters really well.  Emma, a stay-at-home book editor, who seems to be struggling with depression and just sheer panic when the news about the baby's skeleton comes out. She is clearly hiding some secrets from her past, but the nature of those secrets are unclear and her reactions to new news on the topic keeps the reader guessing. Angela, a woman whose newborn baby was stolen from the hospital nearly 40 years ago- an event, which made it impossible for Angela to move on with her life and has cast a shadow on her whole family. Kate, a journalist, who is determined to find who this little baby is and did he/she end up in a hole in the ground. Kate starts a systematic investigation into the inhabitants of those homes in the 70s and 80s and the truth that she discovers is even more stunning than anyone's even imagined! 
  • The book is a crisp, page-turner and there is no dawdling or irrelevant details in this book, which is always a huge plus in my mind when it comes to crime thrillers. 
  • There is a very nice little twist in the book, which the author does a very good job of keeping as a surprise up until the ~85% mark of the book. Readers may guess what that twist is, but it does not ruin the enjoyment of the book because this book is about a journey. 
  • The book moves from England in the 70s, to the 80s to present day and the author has done a good job of depicting each era, especially, in terms of parenting and how different things were then and now. 
Things I Didn't Like: Nothing much at all. 

Rating: 4.5/5 
Read this book! 

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

Book Review: Chronicles of a Corpse Bearer by Cyrus Mistry.


Book: Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer

Author: Cyrus Mistry

Pages: 248

Publisher: Aleph Books

Read On: Paperback

How Long it Took Me To Read: 2 days

Plot Summary: At the very edge of its many interlocking worlds, the city of Bombay conceals a near invisible community of Parsi corpse bearers, whose job it is to carry bodies of the deceased to the Towers of Silence. Segregated and shunned from society, often wretchedly poor, theirs is a lot that nobody would willingly espouse. Yet thats exactly what Phiroze Elchidana, son of a revered Parsi priest, does when he falls in love with Sepideh, the daughter of an aging corpse bearer...

Derived from a true story, Cyrus Mistrys extraordinary new novel is a moving account of tragic love that, at the same time, brings to vivid and unforgettable life the degradation experienced by those who inhabit the unforgiving margins of history.





General Thoughts: I've had this book on my bookshelves for a while, I got it because I loved the sound of it and books set in a Parsi household are always interesting. This book then went on to win the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2015 and I kept telling myself I need to read this book soon! And I finally got around to reading this book earlier in the month.

Things I Liked: 

1. The writing was absolutely wonderful and evocative. The author does a fantastic job of taking us inside this community of corpse bearers and their everyday lives and struggles. Also Mumbai and the 1930s and 40s comes alive in these pages.

2. The corpse bearers a group of people living on the fringe of the Parsi community make for an incredibly interesting read. Doesn't every fringe community make for an intriguing read? To see them eke out a life on the sidelines is always an enlightening reading experience and this book is no different. Their lives and the sense community amongst them just comes alive in these pages. Even their struggles and horrible working conditions, though hard to read was compelling at all times.

3. The time period in which this book is set is a point in time I always enjoy reading about, pre-independence India is such a interesting time period. A nation at the cusp of change and freedom and how this affected it's citizens.

4. Phiroze is so incredibly human and so real, he is incredibly well written and etched out. He is no one special. He isn't the brightest, smartest or deepest character. He is quiet, unassuming and going with the flow. Yet he is a compelling character. He is stronger than he seems. He forgives and forgets and tries the best to live his life the best he can. And it is hard not to root for him and wish him well.

5. The book is inspired by a true story and perhaps that is why it seems so real and it's melancholy just leaps off the pages. Not to say that it's very sad or anything, it won't bum you out, it will affect you, deeply affect you and some of it will linger on.

6. I personally love stories that show the swing of fortune from one end to another. Though in this book it isn't exactly fortune that swings wildly, it is just shows us how drastically Phiroze's life changes. From being a well-respected priest's son to being a corpse bearer and facing ire and discrimination at every step.

7. I love when books teach you something new, it is one of my favourite things about reading- learning something I knew nothing about. I had no clue this kind of discrimination existed in the Parsi community, the corpse bearers are treated worse than untouchables. I also didn't know that death and dead bodies were considered so unclean by the Parsis.

8. This book is part love story, only a small part. But this love, this love almost star crossed love is what completely changes Phiroze's life. We see glimpses of this love throughout the book and you can almost feel Phiroze's pain and longing for his wife- Sepideh.

9. Though a lot of the book is focussed on the life in and around the Towers of Silence, a considerable   portion is spent in Phiroze's childhood home in the Fire Temple. I loved this portion of the book and getting to know Phiroze's family and his childhood and his explorations of Mumbai.

10. I loved that the book starts in the 1930s and ends in the 1990s and we get to see so much of the world and how it changed in these decades.

Rating: 4/5

I highly, highly recommend this book, I had the best time reading this book. 

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Book Review: The Liar's Weave by Tashan Mehta


Book: The Liar's Weave

Author: Tashan Mehta

Pages: 330 pages

Read: The hardcopy pictured above; kindly sent by Juggernaut

Read in: 5-6 hours

Publisher: Juggernaut

Plot Summary: Born into an alternative history of our world where birth charts are real and one's life is mapped out in the stars, Zahan Merchant has a unique problem: he is born without a future. This cosmic mistake gives him an unusual power: the ability to change reality with his lies.

But there is a catch, of course. How like the Gods to build a catch.

Zahan's older brother Sorab becomes the only one to share his secret, and help him keep it, while from afar, the Greatest Astrologer That Ever Lived (the Second), Narayan Tarachand, continues to quietly ponder the mystery of the child whose birth chart he couldn't decipher. But when Zahan's adventures with his best friend Porthos – who has his own secret – brings them to the attention of the hatadaiva, the ill-fated who must bear the brunt of fate's cruelties, his power becomes more dangerous to him and those he loves.

From a Parsi colony in early-twentieth-century Bombay to the urban hinterland of Vidroha, forest of outcasts, Tashan Mehta's debut novel transports the reader to an India both familiar and strange, where the consequences of magic on reality can be wondrous yet heartbreaking.

Things I Liked:
  • The premise of this book is interesting. It is a sort of magical realism meets fantasy meets sort-of alternative historical fiction, which is a mish-mash that I find quite appealing. I went in expecting a sort of Murakami or Rushdie-esque style of writing. 
  • The world building is competent. There is this alternative version of India coupled with the whole notion of everyone's lives predestined in accordance to their birth charts (a scary albeit somewhat comforting alternative, eh?) and some intrigue about a mysterious bunch of pundits watching over our protagonist's every move. There is sufficient intrigue to keep the narrative interesting. 
  • The characters are decently developed. I can't say that I connected with any of the characters but the author does a good job of fleshing them and their motivations out. 
Things I Didn't Like:
  •  This is a book that is fairly ambitious. The author has tried to pull a Rushdie (there is some eerie similarity to Midnight's Children and throughout the book I found it hard to shake off the foreshadow of Midnight's Children..). There is an attempt to meld the quirky dynamics of a Parsi Colony with early 20th century Colonial India and then this fictitious forest full of carnivorous ill-fated people, who need Zahan and his silver tongue to change their destinies. Now, all of this is a LOT. And even 330 pages is not enough to do all these storylines or contexts justice. Or maybe this book needed better editing to fit in all the different contexts in a more balanced manner. There is very little about India's freedom movement, which was a backdrop to all these other fantastical events, which is something I didn't like. I am a big believer in setting the context and letting your characters come alive within that context. So, in that regard, the book was a disappointment. 

  • I also found this book to be tedious, which is quite tragic, given I love this kind of genre-mixing/ genre-bending type of fiction! The author failed to engage me.. the writing was stilted, the characters often spoke in a bizarre prose and there were no characters that I could connect with or root for. Every book, especially, fantasy fiction or magical realism needs one anchor character that can reel you in and make you want to follow his/her journey. Murakami has done it book after book and so has Rushdie. Perhaps it is not fair to compare a first-time author to these stalwarts but she did choose an ambitious space to start her writing career in....  
Rating: 3/5 

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Stationery Sunday: Traveler's Notebook Junk Journal Insert

Today I want to share something really special that my sister got custom made for documenting our trip to Landour earlier this year- a beautiful nature-themed junk journal.

A junk journal is a hand-sewn journal made up of paper and ephemera odds and ends, which gives this journal a very cozy and rustic feel! I'll now hand this over to my sister, who will take you through some of the beautiful pages in this junk journal.



My junk journal lives in my Brown Traveler's Notebook. I thought that the colours and theme of this journal really complemented the brown TN in terms of the overall rustic look-and-feel. 




Here's the first page of the junk journal or the cover, actually. I love the wildflowers and vintage ephemera theme that is going on here. 





I ordered this junk journal from Jibid over on Shire Wool (Etsy). She makes custom junk journals and her collection of vintage ephemera is just beautiful! She is such a talented artiste! 


 A junk journal has many different elements to it. Little tuck spots, where you can write some personal reflects or just tuck away little memorabilia from your travels. This journal is full of such pretty tuck spots and multiple pockets and so on. 



Here is another pocket.. it has a journaling card on whose reverse you can stick a photo or write down something..




More examples of pockets. The printed pager on the right hand side is a pocket that opens up on the right edge and there is a journaling card in there to stick photos or write. 




Jibid has created a couple of lined pages made out of tracing paper and the lines are sewn on.. so, those blue lines are actually thread.. and she has used multiple vintage images of flowers, leaves and birds (as I had requested) in the journal. 




More examples of vintage paper and pictures. So beautiful! The one on the left is a bookmark, while the one on the right is a pocket, which has a pull-out journaling card. 




I'd told Jibid that I am, primarily, going to use this journal as an album. So, these are some pages that she has created for me to paste pictures and the butterfly on the left is a pocket with a journaling card to write down memories associated with those pictures. 




That's the end cover of the journal. As you can see, she has edged the page with vintage lace! It's so lovely! :) 

Hope you guys liked this peek into our junk journal. It's our long weekend plan to fill it up with photos from our travels this year.

Have a great week ahead, guys! 

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Stationery Haul: Mini Iconic Notebooks from Ali Express

Hello, hello!
A quick little (pun unintended!) haul of tiny notebooks from Ali Express.

These are made by a Korean brand called Iconic and are a little smaller than the Passport size Traveler's Notebook inserts.

Look at how pretty they are!






Flowers and a donkey (?!). So whimsical! 



This mint coloured one has crocodiles, a cat and random birds. So cute! 



This is probably my favourite- Sakura flowers and colourful, chubby birds!



And this notebook was a fun coincidence because we actually have a pencil case with the same design! 


Here they all are. My sister uses these for her daily writing in her Passport TN. 
They take gel pens and fountain pen ink quite well. 

I hope you guys are having a great weekend.

See you tomorrow!