Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami [Book Review]

Men Without WomenMen Without Women by Haruki Murakami
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As I always say, “When in Doubt, Read Murakami” and this book is no exception. As clear from the title, the book is a set of short stories (7 in total) that revolve around a common theme- life of men who have been devoid of presence of women in their lives due to different reasons. All stories have plots, characters and setups common to a typical Murakami tale- lonely men who love to read, mysterious women, disappearing cats, quaint bars with weird frequenters, overthinking characters and endless rumbling about life, loss, death & sense of being.

While the first four stories actually follow plot and seems normal, you experience the real Murakami in last three stories- mindless rumblings, chaotic thoughts, and random brainstorming overpower the central plot and you are reminded what it is to read a story which is very typical of Murakami.

It’s the 6th book of Murakami that I have picked up. I didn’t regret.

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Crack the Marketing Case and Interview Like A CMO by Nitish Rai Gupta [Book Review]

Crack the Marketing Case and Interview Like A CMOCrack the Marketing Case and Interview Like A CMO by Nitish Rai Gupta
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Marketing is a stream where ‘nothing is wrong or right’- it’s all about the perspective. ‘Crack the Marketing Case and Interview Like A CMO’ takes this idea forward to build up a perspective for extremely varied sets of Marketing cases through well-defined and clear frameworks. The book starts with introduction to generic behavioral questions that an MBA student might encounter during placement interviews for a marketing role and then finally move to the technical questions.

All the frameworks introduced by the author are explained well, before finally moving to the cases. There are 18 Marketing cases in total and each case is solved by the author using the frameworks in extremely detailed way.
The reason I have given the book only 4 stars (instead of 5) is that the author doesn’t mention anything about how to do industry knowledge preparation. Also guesstimate based Market sizing, Market Entry etc questions are not discusses at all.
This book needs a second edition and better marketing (oh! the irony) so that more and more B-School Students get to know about it.
Once again, thanks to Bloomsbury India for sending a review copy.
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Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory by Aanchal Malhotra [Book Review]

Remnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material MemoryRemnants of a Separation: A History of the Partition through Material Memory by Aanchal Malhotra
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

First of all, thanks a lot to Harper Collins India for sending me a review copy of this book. To make things clear, this is not just another book invoking memories of partition. Remnants of a Separation is a unique and honest attempt to revisit the gory days of Partition through ‘materials’- the objects that were carried by the refugees with them when they left their ancestral land and crossed the border. These objects range from jewellery, utensils, clothings and so on, remaining latent & undisturbed for generations. They are now testaments to the struggle, sacrifice, suffering and belonging of their respective owners.

This actually started as an academic project, eventually converted into a book by author Aanchal Malhotra, who is an artist & oral historian and is a must read for history buffs.

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A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi [Book Review]

A House Without Windows: A NovelA House Without Windows: A Novel by Nadia Hashimi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nadia Hashimi debuted with ‘The Pearl That Broke Its Shell’, which soon topped many bestseller charts. While that book described the trials & tribulations of two Afghan females from different generations, while highlighting the ugly menace of ‘Bacha Posh tradition’ in Afghanistan, ‘A House Without Windows’ is different. It is set in modern post-Taliban Afghanistan, a land torn by years of war, trying its best to adapt modern code of conduct, but still tightly shackled in the traditions of past where a woman’s testimony is still counted as half of that of man and her honor is something that lies between her legs and must be protected at all costs.

Zeba has killed her husband (or she hasn’t) and has been put into Chil Mahtab, a women’s prison.
Yusuf is an Afghan-born, American raised lawyer who is willing to put all his efforts to get Zeba acquitted. Then there is Gulnaz, Zeba’s mother, the sorceress of yesteryears who is all set to put her powers in use to get Zeba out of Chil Mahtab.
The book, with its description of ‘jadu’ (magic) has a mysterious touch to it, even when dealing with the sensitive topic of ‘zina’ (adultery). I did find the narration a bit dragging, but still it never digressed from the core plot- the trial of Zeba.
A satisfying & engaging read to start off my reading journey of 2018.

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An Unsuitable Boy by Karan Johar [Book Review]

An Unsuitable BoyAn Unsuitable Boy by Karan Johar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is one book in a long long time that I finished in less than 12 hours- I picked it up and just couldn’t put it down!
“An Unsuitable Boy” is Karan Johar unabashed, unadulterated and unedited! If you have watched lots of “Koffee with Karan” episodes, you can actually read the book in his own voice- it feels as if he is sitting just in front of you rambling, bitching, dissing and appreciating.

With an innocent, no-nonsense narration, Karan Johar bares his heart out in this memoir- his initial struggles with weight, low self esteem and being effeminate, his emotional equations with an aging father & a strict mother and so on. Then there is an entire chapter on ‘Kuch Kuch Hota Hai’ which is an admirable account of how a young boy with an experience of just one movie (he was the assistant director of DDLJ) came, saw and conquered. In this book Karan has been extremely open and candid about everything- his vanities, struggles, vulnerabilities, anxiety issues, fallout with Kajol, his relation with Shah Rukh and Aditya Chopra and in my opinion he couldn’t be any more honest and profound.

The chapters where he puts down his struggles and vulnerabilities of consolidating Dharma Productions (having no sense of business whatsoever) are not only gripping but also motivating.
The book has its own share of vanity, flamboyance and elitism and Karan never tries to hide it. Neither he tries to be politically correct while saying “Screw you” to all his twitter trolls.
The book might seem a bit dragging when he discusses his friendships but then it looks justifies given the fact that how emotionally attached he is with his friends. At the end he even reveals that he is thinking of having a child just because of a selfish reason that he wants someone to take care of him when he gets old!
All in all, this is a candid, gripping and honest memoir- something that has come straight from Karan’s heart and deserves a read for sure.

Buy a copy from Amazon here- http://amzn.to/2kawOEH

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When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi [Book Review]

When Breath Becomes AirWhen Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

There are books that you like, there are books that you love and then there are books that shake you, make you introspect and force you to rethink about many conventions, comfort and things that you take for granted.
The story of a neurosurgeon (Dr. Paul Kalanithi) dealing with terminal cancer, written by himself and the epilogue written by her wife after his death- the memoir is not only different & ground-breaking because of its theme & content. What makes the book that it has become to be is that Dr. Kalanithi, who had been a literature major and then, being a neurosurgeon, had seen & experienced death & its various manifestations and consequences, has woven an extremely pristine & profound piece of memoir. ‘When breath becomes air’ is a meditation on death, the practice of neuroscience & neurosurgery, god & metaphysics and the gory question of “What matters & what not when your time is limited”

A MUST READ.

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Who Me, Poor? By Gayatri Jayaraman [Book Review]

Who me poor? Gayatri Jayaraman: Book Review
Who me Poor? By Gayathri Jayraman

 

Title : Who Me? Poor?

Author : Gayatri Jayaraman

ISBN : 9789386432230

Publisher : Bloomsbury India

Genre : Non-fiction

Pages : 192

Source : Self

Rating : 4 stars

 

 

As Indians, we often relate ‘poverty’ to rural and bucolic. The moment we encounter the word ‘poverty’, images of emaciated poor people living in mud houses in unhygienic surroundings envelop our mind

Who me, Poor?” by Gayatri Jayaraman captures something we all know about, still feel awkward and uneasy to discuss even if it’s happening to us or our closed ones- Urban Poverty. The book has multiple first person anecdotes, ‘struggler’ stories and case studies of urban people who are cutting on their food, living standards and health just for the hope of making it big someday. All anecdotes are followed by a thorough analysis by the author on the reasons behind this phenomenon- what drives the millennials to succumb to pressure and live life on debts, loans and credits. The role played by evolution of cashless economy, corporate work culture, expensive degrees, overemphasis on ‘networking’, in the exacerbation of this menace has also been clearly analyzed.

The book discusses a much less talked about but an inescapable menace that is making its headway (infact, has already made) in Indian urban fabric. The author has done a commendable job in putting together relevant anecdotes and case studies, though the analysis part has turned out to be a bit complex. A few sentences might seem unnecessarily intertwined, thus undermining the sole purpose that the book is supposed to deliver- acquainting the reader about the phenomenon of Urban Poverty in India and its various manifestations.

All in all, the book is an impressive and well-researched work and I look forward to read more from the author in future.

Buy yourself a copy from Amazon here-  Who me, Poor? by Gayatri Jayaraman

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