January 27, 2014

Reading Bingo Challenge

This year, I had set myself to just do three things

1. Read
2. Travel
3. Exercise

And I thought why not take up something interesting to do my reading bit :) I am already planning on reading 50 books this year and tracking them through Goodreads.

And now, I am taking up the Reading Bingo Challenge. It sounds so interesting and it shall surely make me hunt for books and read them :)

Want to take it up? Surely do... please leave your blog link or any web location where you plan on keeping a track of the books that you would be reading. I would love to see your reading picks and also, I need to know 'A book your friend loves' . ;)

January 22, 2014

Book Review: The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency by Alexander McCall Smith

Set in Gaborone, capital of Botswana, the protagonist is a smart, intelligent women who decides the country needs a detective agency, and she goes about setting it up.

A straight As student, falls into a bad marriage and picks up her life to set up something she believes in. When I picked up the book, I thought it was going to be a mystery novel and would be interesting. But, I was in for a shock. It does certainly have mysteries, and many. Some small, short and sweet, and some which pan the whole book. There is the mystery of the heart and how we deal with our lives on a daily basis.

White lies, being cheeky and being human. I think this is what the spoke to me about. It makes one feel glad the way we deal with things and at times makes you feel less guilty of those things which you think are all wrong with your life.

This is a very easy read and truly a feel good book!

Rating: 4/5

January 17, 2014

What have you been reading?

A Kindle does make reading so much simpler.I did not buy it at the start, but once I started to use it, I know now I do prefer to buy books on the kindle and take books from the library!
  1. You have access to so many books which else you need to go hunting for.
  2. The reading process is simple where I lie in any which position which suits me, and I do not have to bother with holding the pages of the book in place or having T pulling out the bookmarks and me re-reading pages to figure exactly where I left off.
B gifted me the kindle in August for my birthday, but I already had so many books otherwise that I ended up reading them first before venturing onto the kindle because I thought once there I might not want to pick up the paperback books again.
  1. Its not true that the kindle can really replace a book. At times I want to hold a book, turn pages and read it.
  2. I also realized that some books are not available on the Kindle store, so there is nothing much you can do, but buy and read the paperback version.
Here are some of the books I recently completed, and I was looking for the second part in the trilogy by Amitav Ghosh which is when I realized that some books are not available in India... or it could be a specific case with the Kindle India store.

I believe I bought this months back, but being my first Amitav Ghosh, I was a little wary whether I would get through it. But, I loved it completely, and to the extend that I did not wait to finish before hunting for the next book in the trilogy.

I did not find it on Kindle and hence ordered the paperback too.

This is a series which I happened to chance upon, and I have loved the short quick mysteries which seem to fit perfectly for me before I fall deep into big fat complicated novels.

Till date I am done with

A for Alibi
B for Burglar
C for Corpse

I usually restrict myself to just reading one in between picking up something bigger.

So... what have you been reading??

January 7, 2014

Speaking up...

Is it wrong to wish for something in this new year looking at all the wrongs that have been about the last year?

Does talking about the wrongs against women make you a feminist?

 Recently, I had a conversation with B about feminism. This is a topic which has come up many times during our discussions and he believes that I look at all men with suspicion and never tend to give them a iota of benefit of doubt. The conversation in question came up after he read a status update on my Facebook timeline from a friend, who said she hoped this year will be better for women, and that women all over would become stronger and arise from the shackles which bind them.

He was of the opinion that if the women feel shackled, why should that be a matter of concern for men. They have not shackled them, then why blame men for it. And he feels that this is demeaning to many men that women write them off in such a bad manner. He feels that if women have it in them to become equals and do what they wish, then they should. Why associate it with men in anyway, as an enabler or a deterrent?

My take was that with regard to the statement, when there is so much going on in this world where women are at the receiving end, then why wouldn't those women who can speak up without being afraid to do that for those who can not. This does not mean that the women treat all men to be the same, but there is a certain caution which is associated with men in general after hearing about all these situations. Why shouldn't we help them in any which way we can? This might give someone the strength to fight and more importantly stand up. He was of the opinion why speak up then; if you wish to help, go out and help. That statement was received with a frown on my face, so that line of conversation was stopped.

Then it was why are all women feminists, and trying to uplift or speaking up only for women. He believes that giving mutual respect and independence is what feminism should be all about. This would be a valid point for not just women, but in essence, this is what he sees humanism as. I agree with it completely, but is our society at the juncture to accept something like this? I doubt it.

Do we see mutual respect and independence for so many people around us? There are people I know who have been so accustomed to having everything being done for them, now when they want/have to do something by themselves, it seems to be difficult, or rather more like they have forgotten how to do it. One of the things I really appreciate in B is that he pushes me to get out and do my own stuff. I usually complain and try to avoid it, but I know that he is doing it for my very own good. And I really appreciate it when I look back at the situation after the said situation has passed.

As a reader, do you think there is really any use of online activism? Or is it just for the noise ?

January 2, 2014

Looking back

Well, I did not really look back in December, as I was still living through the year and looking at what the year end would bring my way. Not that it did bring anything unexpected.

So now, as this new year unfolds, I take a step back and look at what I did in the last 364 days?

The beginning of the year was plagued with moving out of the comfort zone and getting back into a working schedule. Managing work and T was proving to be a big concern, and the only way I could manage was with day care. A huge step which I took after waiting out a good 5 months before taking the plunge. And from then, it has been no looking back. T adjusted, liked and at times bawled her way to day care. But, eventually everyday she comes back with a new story to tell, or make up new stories and tell. She has started to speak so much that it amazes B and me of the kind of things she picks up from others conversations.

For example, I wrote about how she did something which I explicitly told her not to, and she did agree to it minutes before deciding to let go of that. It has been a trying year in all respects and it does not make things easier that now she has her demands and things which she wants to do. These I am learning to understand and tackle in the best possible manner.

This was followed by a visit to Ooty and then followed by some travel for B wherein T and I were at home just spending days as they came. We did enjoy our time together and that is when I realized that children are far more manageable when they have instructions only from one source. They need to be in direct instruction from one person and that helps them to get the work done. I realized she has no one to go to an make requests. She would make deals with me about how she would clean up and then do painting, or play on the iPad etc. But, she understood there was no question of not cleaning up! Getting this to function with both the parents around is something which we are yet to master.

Baking has been a priority task through this year, and we have tried to keep things healthy with salads and non fatty eating options. This has been a task, but with limited work out options opening up, eating right is the only way I see it working. Something I want to try is burpees which a blog friend keeps mentioning, and this looks like something which could be a good substitute to a short workout. I was in a phase where I would do suryanamaskars every morning, but somewhere along the year that dropped off. This again needs to be picked up. And the most important task is I believe sleeping early and being up at 7 am to ensure that I get the uninterrupted time to achieve it.

Resolutions are not something I am good at, nor do I ever know what I should be putting down, so the only things which I wish to do is read, exercise and travel.