Daily Archives: October 26, 2011

Book Review: Sonia Gandhi – An Extraordinary Life, An Indian Destiny by Rani Singh

Title: Sonia Gandhi – An Extraordinary Life, An Indian Destny
Author: Rani Singh
Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan
Genre: Non-Fiction, Biography
ISBN: 978-0-230-34160-9
Pages: 268
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

Sonia Gandhi is one of India’s most influential women alive. I am not saying it just for effect. It is a known fact. I have always admired her as a woman, as a politician and as a spokesperson for the country at probable International forums. I love the way she has carried herself from being a foreigner to someone who is an integral part of the country today. And this is what Rani Singh’s biography brings to surface – the woman, with her strengths and flaws – all rolled in one.

One cannot read Sonia Gandhi’s biography without being mesmerized by her. She is that sort of a lady – made of steel and yet the humane side is well-observed and documented through this biography. Rani Singh has given us a glimpse into Sonia’s life through six sections – charting her life from the Italian Girl to the Indian Household name that she has become today.

Rani Singh has an acute understanding of writing a biography. She has chronicled Sonia Gandhi’s life as is – speaking of the incidents and events in a fair manner. There is no biasness involved as one would expect from an influential biography – there are empathetic moments in the book, however they do not get sentimental and that’s what holds the book together.

I was personally fascinated by the read. One doesn’t know much about Sonia Gandhi besides the fact that she was the daughter-in-law of Indira Gandhi and wife to Rajiv Gandhi, both imperative to where she stands today in her career and as a woman of destiny so to speak. I got to know more about the person that Ms. Gandhi is – preserving the Gandhi legacy and at the same time trying to be the true blue, “Mother India” (by default) to India’s people.

Rani Singh’s writing is not biting and neither is it boring – the book is written gracefully, and carefully examining Sonia Gandhi’s life and what it means to the Indian sub-continent. This is the first time I have ever read something on Sonia Gandhi’s life and her entrance to politics, coming from Italy to being what she is today on the map of Indian Politics.

If you would like to discover more of the lady that survived the deaths of two most important people in her life and yet overcome the tragedy to being where she is today, then Sonia Gandhi by Rani Singh is the perfect book for you. I cannot recommend it enough.

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Book Review: The Taker by Alma Katsu

Title: The Taker
Author: Alma Katsu
Publisher: Arrow Books, Random House UK
Genre: Fantasy Fiction
ISBN: 978-0099552840
Pages: 512
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

The Taker by Alma Katsu has to be one of my best reads of 2011. The minute I put it down, I had the urge to pick it up and re-read it, though the mystery had unraveled itself for me. The Taker is not like anything else you’ve read before. I say that almost about a lot of books I read, however this one truly takes the cake.

The story centers on Lanny, who has become immortal. I will not reveal how and spoil it for you. That’s for you to read and figure. The book begins when Luke, a small town doctor in Maine is drawn to Lanny, who has admitted to a murder. While helping Lanny, she tells him the story of her life and love for Jonathan, and the readers are drawn back and forth in the book from the 1800’s to present day.

Lanny’s story is that of love and how she did everything in its name, only to be ensnared and captured and has to suffer as she loves. I am not going to give anything away in the review, however I must say that The Taker had me gasping in certain places and yes I was scared to some extent as well.

The Taker is not your vampire fiction or paranormal teenage romance book and I was thanking Alma Katsu for not giving it that shape and form. Lanny’s character is so well-etched that you catch yourself feeling both – angry and sympathetic towards her. On one hand her love for Jonathan is heart-wrenching and on the other, the extent to which she will go to in order to acquire his heart is ruthless. This makes her even more humane and extraordinary at the same time.

Katsu never for once misses the spot while telling this tale. Her writing is taut and elegant and it has to be considering the plot that she has invented is fascinating. Love is of many kinds and in The Taker, Ms. Katsu reveals the obsessive nature of love and yet not once will it leave a bad taste in your mouth. The Taker has all elements of a great goth romance and it so delivers. Alma’s writing is beautiful and fluid – it transported me for sure to different worlds and honestly I did not want the book to end. I have been told that this is a trilogy and that has now kept me waiting for the second book in the series.

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