Daily Archives: October 15, 2013

Book Review: How to Stay Sane by Philippa Perry

How to Stay Sane by Philippa Perry Title: How to Stay Sane
Author: Philippa Perry
Publisher: Macmillan
ISBN: 9781447202301
Genre: Non-Fiction
Pages: 160
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

The School of Life is a series of books launched by Alain de Botton or I think commissioned by him. Each book is unique and different in the sense that each book speaks of a different aspect of life – which either people do not talk of or just plainly ignore. These are lessons on how to live life better, not to be mistaken for a self-help series (though they do that at some level), but more like a lesson, a guide, something which can be tweaked to your choice or preference.

The various books in this series are about how to think more about sex, how to find fulfilling work, how to worry less about money (this should be everyone’s read), how to change the world, and lastly the one which I will be reviewing right now – How to Stay Sane by Philippa Perry. The book works on a simple premise: In today’s world, we need more mental health than ever. We need to take care of it and not let go of it. The book just tells us how.

“How to Stay Sane” just lets the readers know how to actually remain sane – connecting with the situation and at the same time giving a very objective view to the entire concept. The book is divided into small chapters – dealing with Self-Observation, to relating to others, to dealing with stress and finally rounding it with what is the story and a couple of exercises to actually work on being sane.

While it appear to be a self-help book in most ways, How to Stay Sane is not in so many other. The writing is crisp, to the point and very subtly laced with humour and simplicity. The mind is studied most often and to figure why we get the way we do. The way our relationships function, the stress most jobs cause and how we can actually deal with all of it. A great book to be read without any prejudice or pre-conceived notions.

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Book Review: Night Film by Marisha Pessl

Night Film by Marisha Pessl Title: Night Film
Author: Marisha Pessl
Publisher: Hutchinson Books
ISBN: 9780091953799
Genre: Literary Fiction, Horror
Pages: 624
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

There are few books that will petrify you. That will evoke fear in you. That will make you jump at the slightest sound as you turn the pages. That will perhaps also have the strange effect of wanting-to-finish-the-book-no-matter-how-huge on you. I always thought that reading a book could not scare me. I was probably right; till I picked up, “Night Film” by Marisha Pessl and now I am a believer.

I read Pessl’s earlier work (a debut), called, “Special Topics in Calamity Physics” and I must say that her style and plot narrative is nothing like that in “Night Film”. It is completely different, so much so that you would not believe that the same writer has written these books. “Night Film” had me sleepless for almost a week after I finished it and here I am recommending it to every single person, mainly because of the way it is written.

So here is the plot: Ashley Cordova, daughter of the cult filmmaker Stanislas Cordova is found dead in an abandoned warehouse in lower Manhattan. Her death is ruled out as suicide. Ashley was a child genius who wooed the piano with her skills. Stanislas was last seen in public thirty years ago. He lives or is known to live in The Peak – his plush mansion away from civilization. Stanislas is legendary for his horror movies – to reveal the dark side of humans. His films are unsettling and there is always death of his family members – as associated with him.

Enter Scott McGrath, an investigative journalist who thinks that Ashley did not commit suicide. He has been on the trail of Cordova since years, where one unfortunate incident made him lose everything that he ever had. He wants to know the truth behind the Cordova family. What are the movies all about? Are they real? Are they fictitious? What is about them that drive people insane to worship Cordova? What happened to Ashley? Why did she fall down to her death? What were the reasons? McGrath is out to find out the truth with the help of two strangers and this is hardly where the story begins.

The book is true to itself. It does not talk of darkness and light. There is no bad guy; neither there is the good guy. Things are not as easy as they seem. The dark self and the so called self in the light could probably have a very thin line separating them, which we might never know. That’s what the book is about.

I finished Night Film in about a day and a half. While it could be categorized in the horror or suspense genre, it is for sure more than that. Every chapter almost opens another layer, and another and one more and doesn’t let up till you have reached the end, which in itself is another layer. The book is full of graphics as well – from newspaper articles to interviews to internet links, which only add to the entire eerie effect.

The writing is a breeze. It is perhaps even way better than her first book. “Night Film” is a book that deserves to be read keeping the phone aside, the computer switched off, no one to disturb you and the sounds of the night to accompany you for sure. Read it over the weekend and yes, get spooked. I cannot recommend it enough.

Here is the book trailer:

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Book Review: Gone by Michael Grant

Gone by Michael Grant Title: Gone
Author: Michael Grant
Publisher: Egmont Books
ISBN: 9781405242356
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 576
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4/5

Dystopian novels and those that speak of the distant future somehow do not excite me that much. I mean I will give it a try, however there has to be something of unique value to make me want to turn the pages and hold on to the plot. There has to be something more than the usual humdrum that goes about. With this thought in mind, I started reading “Gone” by Michael Grant and it sure didn’t disappoint me one single bit.

“Gone” is about a time when everyone over the age of fourteen mysteriously disappears. There is no one in the town or well rather country or the world over the age of fourteen. No one knows what happened or why. There are only kids present and everything is at their disposal. What will become of the future? Will there be a future at all? What is worse is that some of the children have developed mutant powers and they are all set to rule the world without adults.

I literally got the goose bumps while reading this book. The future in the book seemed very scary and looked extremely bleak. There is a lot that happens in the book that will leave you disturbed – however the way it is written by Grant is what matters the most – it is non-emotional and yet hopeful, not sentimental and yet rings with faith at some level. The characters are as ruthless as one could be in a situation like this and yet there are some which are more humane that balance the book.

The book did remind me of the Lord of the Flies, however at a more brutal level. Like I said, it is one heck of a disturbing read and yet enjoyable. I cannot wait to get my hand on the others in this series. It is a series you cannot get more of.

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