Tag Archives: Simon and Schuster

My Daughters’ Mum: Essays by Natasha Badhwar

My Daughters' Mum Title: My Daughters’ Mum: Essays
Author: Natasha Badhwar
Publisher: Simon & Schuster India
ISBN: 978-9386797001
Genre: Essays
Pages: 264
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5 Stars

Natasha Badhwar’s writing is comfort food. It is the hug you have been waiting for but just don’t know it yet. It is the reassurance of a loved on that takes its own time to come but when it does, your heart is filled with warmth like none other. It is the hobby that becomes a passion and you cannot wait to get back to it at the end of the day. I hadn’t known of Natasha’s column (very famous by the way – appears in Mint Lounge every week) or of her before I started following her on Twitter (Thank God I did) and I couldn’t have been happier knowing she exists. She is there somewhere on the Internet, spreading kindness, wisdom and sometimes nothing but just telling us stories of her life and that’s what this book is about.

“My Daughters’ Mum” is a collection of her essays which have previously appeared in Mint (some of them I think) and again since I hadn’t read any, it was a unique experience for me and my heart. I’ve always believed that books and reading can connect you with people like no other and this is what happened to me as I turned the pages of Natasha’s book. I wept. I laughed. I nodded knowingly. I wanted to reach out to her and hug her tight. I wanted to tell her children that they are loved so much (I am sure they know it as well) and all I ended up doing was healing myself through her words.

We all carry burdens, of various kinds. They come in different shapes and are full of different things – some recognizable and some don’t. Natasha’s writing is raw and makes us see what we cannot see through her struggles – big or small and that is where the connect lies I suppose. She writes nonchalantly about her kids, her husband, her in-laws, her parents, about how she feels and what she thinks and how she also connects with the world at large. This sense of putting your heart out there and knowing that it is okay to do so filled me with awe. I am in awe of her because she shows her deepest scars, her fears and knows that that is the only way she can connect and know people better. For instance, when Sahar (her oldest) doesn’t know how to express her anger – its all there or for that matter when Naseem (her youngest) knows some things too well for a child her age – Natasha bares it all and that’s why I could feel the emotions I did.

My review is not doing justice to the book as it should. I haven’t even scratched the surface of the book to give you an idea of how brilliant it is and why you should read it. All I can say is that you should read it. It is the kind of book that deserves to be read by everyone. You will find your own comfort in its pages, just like I did. Thank you Natasha, for this.

 

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Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift

Mothering Sunday by Graham Swift Title: Mothering Sunday
Author: Graham Swift
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 978-1471155239
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 136
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

I have not read much by Graham Swift. I have always found his books to be slow and kinda dragging, however this time round when I did read his latest, “Mothering Sunday” – I was left with a tingling feeling of melancholy, happiness and some bittersweet feeling that I couldn’t place my finger on. In short, I loved what I read. The book is different. It is short – almost a novella and it takes you on a rollercoaster of emotions like no other book I’ve read in recent past.

“Mothering Sunday” is about a day that changes everything – 30th March 1924. The day is Mothering Sunday. The question is how Jane Fairchild, an orphan, spends her time when she clearly has no mother to visit?

Jane Fairchild is only twenty-two, working at a house as a maid since she was sixteen. She is in love with Paul Sheringham, young heir of a neighbouring house. The two you guessed right, meet again on that Mothering Sunday and life isn’t the same ever again.
The book is about her life, the love that she stumbles on and what happens thereof. I wish I could say more but I just cannot. You would have to read the book to figure that one out. The writing is superlative. People say that “Waterland” or “Last Orders” is his best work. I think hands down this one is. The writing is precise and yet says so much given the scope of the book.

The story is of Jane’s understanding of the world and how she comes to the conclusion and learns to make peace with her situation. All I can say is that the book has these fantastic metaphors and one-liners that will stay with you long after you have finished the book.

Judge This by Chip Kidd

Judge This by Chip Kidd Title: Judge This
Author: Chip Kidd
Publisher: Simon and Schuster, TED Talks
ISBN: 9781471138928
Genre: Motivation, Inspiration, Design, TED Talks
Pages: 134
Source: Personal
Rating: 5/5

I have always loved and admired book covers designed by Chip Kidd. He is one designer who keeps things minimalist and yet does not make it vague for the reader. Vague in the sense that the reader can get a certain idea of the book by looking at the cover and that’s how we do it anyway, don’t we? We judge the book by the cover and sometimes it is the only thing to do when more information about the book is just not given or when the eye just lands on the cover the very first thing (but of course).

Judge This - Image 1

“Judge This” by Chip Kidd is about judging or about the way we judge. It is also about how we look at daily objects and what purpose or role they play in our lives. Kidd takes all relevant instances from his life as a book cover designer (what a cool, cool job to have) and analyzes the way we see objects.

Judge This - Image 2

(This image for the cover of Oliver Sack’s book for instance came from a regular eye-testing chart)

Kidd creates a continuum, a horizontal line that goes from clarity to mystery, rating various elements of daily life according to how much effort it takes to understand them. He measures images in the book from extreme clarity to mysteriousness and how that is detrimental in so many ways.

Judge This - Image 3

There are images on almost every page, accompanied by a narrative of how Kidd sees it and how he used it later for his books. This is also a part of the TED Series and I am sure that the TED video would be just as great. Kidd’s writing is simple, direct and clear. That is the major reason why the book works on so many levels.

“Judge This” will make you look at design, logo and brand imagery more carefully. It will also make you look at book covers in a unique manner. A read that I would for sure highly recommend.

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Here is the video of the TED Talk:

Zen Pencils by Gavin Aung Than

Zen Pencils by Gavin Aung Than Title: Zen Pencils
Author: Gavin Aung Than
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
ISBN: 9781449457952
Genre: Graphic Novel, Comics, Cartoon
Pages: 176
Source: Publisher
Rating: 5/5

If you have to read a self-help book this year, that is not condescending at all, but only helps you move on page by page, then you have to read “Zen Pencils”. It is a book made after the very famous website created by Gavin Aung Than and there are these cartoons there along with many more. I bumped on to the site after reading the book and could not have been happier than this.

Zen Pencils - Image 4

There is something so reassuring about reading these snippets of self-help and motivation. Maybe that is what is needed in times such as these, which is ridden with cynicism and utter hopelessness. The anecdotes and quotes are from famous people – from Neil Gaiman to a Tibetan monk to Henry David Thoreau to Confucius, their words are heart-warming, sobering and mostly just there to shake your existence.

Zen Pencils - Image 1

“Zen Pencils” makes you realize that perhaps it is not all that bad and that there is so much hope still for all of us on this world. These quotes otherwise maybe scoffed on and probably ridiculed as well, however when combined with some fantastic art-work, it is literally work of genius. One can relate to it and also think of applying what can be to life.

Zen Pencils - Image 2

“Zen Pencils” is a definite read for almost everyone if you ask me. The graphics and the cartoons are simply charming and the book will surprise you for sure – more so when you sense that you are crying and if any book can make you do that, more so a book in a graphic format, then it is worth your time. I will reread this book perhaps multiple times and cherish it as much. Gavin’s work has enabled more people to think beyond and look at life differently.

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Buy Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks

Zen Pencils: Cartoon Quotes from Inspirational Folks

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

Still Alice by Lisa Genova Title: Still Alice
Author: Lisa Genova
Publisher: Pocket Books, Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 9781501106422
Genre: Literary Fiction
Pages: 353
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 5/5

One of the many diseases of old-age that I am most frightened of is Alzheimer’s. The thought of losing all memory, day by day and not knowing anything at all makes me break into a sweat. The idea of not recognizing your loved ones even more so. I don’t think anyone should go through that torture. It is just one of those diseases that take everything away from you.

So when you read a book where the disease is almost the protagonist, you are completely overwhelmed and more than anything else you also cheer for the person for being a survivor and battling it at all costs. Dr. Alice Howland has it all going for her. She is a psychiatry professor at Harvard. She has three children and a loving husband. She is fifty years of age and Alzheimer’s has struck. It is about her family coping with her disease and how their lives change forever. “Still Alice” by Lisa Genova is a book that will make you think about life and death and the consequences of life being too short.

Genova skillfully explores Alzheimer’s through Alice. The onset of it and the rapid progression as shown from September 2002 to September 2005 will make you turn the pages and feel for Alice and her family, which maybe you must not have in a very long time. For instance, the unwell Alice spotting a message the healthier Alice left on voicemail and figuring what it was will absolutely break your heart. There are many such instances throughout the book.

I was majorly taken in by the book because Alzheimer’s is one thing that has always intrigued me. One day you know it all and the other you are reduced to becoming someone who can’t even remember his or her name. “Still Alice” had me in from the very first page and did not let go of me at all. I recommend this to all readers – it will appeal to everyone and probably also make you realize that time is too short and life must be lived nonetheless.

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Still Alice