A Higher Loyalty – James Comey

A Higher Loyalty – James Comey

“The higher loyalty is to lasting values, most important the truth.” – James Comey

                                    These words by James Comey, which comes half way through the book are what the essence of the book is supposed to be. The tell-all expose of the controversial, former Director of the FBI, is the detailed narration of various ethical dilemmas; he addressed during his life-time and his process of resolving them. The content of the book can be quite simple be summarized as a footnote to the absolutely crazy election of Donald trump and the antics of his administration there-after. Lets be honest there is no need for an exposé on the current administration, they do that aplenty themselves.

                                    James Comey has done irreparable damage to the institution he headed, being called a hack to a tool to being absolutely clueless at times, intervening inadvertently in the 2016 Presidential Election (if the book is to be believed) and leaving the reputation of the FBI in tatters. His one saving grace turned out to be the president himself; who managed to make mismanagement so commonplace that Comey’s charades were but on in a parade of many exuberant ones. His handling of some of the most critical investigations were questionable at the most generous, including Clinton’s emails, Wiener’s wiener and of-course the beloved pee-pee tapes and dossiers.

                                    Keeping this in mind, it is quiet easy to spot the real purpose of this book, rather than an overwhelming urge to expose the truths behind the curtains of power, the book’s purpose is the redemption of its authors reputation and credibility. The contents are a series of apologies and explanations mashed together incoherently to form a semblance of integrity. There is no higher loyalty here, the book is no leadership manual, there is hardly any situation put forward were the founding principles laid forth in the initial pages are deliberated, nor of labored nuanced decisions made. May be its the bits lost due to series of edits and cut courtesy of the intelligence agencies or it is the authors own constraints that leaves this book devoid of content and render it as mere hogwash.

                                    In conclusion; If you have been exposed to the torrent of news, you are already well informed of everything that Comey talks about, all you are missing is him trying an angle on it. I give A Higher Loyalty by James Comey a 2 out of 5.

sign(1)

 

 

The Future of Humanity: Michio Kaku

The Future of Humanity: Michio Kaku

This book by the renowned physicist and science aficionado Dr Michio Kaku is a anthology of all that is latest and greatest in science right now. He explores the future of humanity in the decades and centuries to come,  He explains how the current technology will evolve and how that evolution will transform our species from a single planetary civilization to a multi planetary one and then onto being a true galactic civilization; living and thriving among the stars.

His book starts with the revival of space race in modern times, The race to colonize mars and how far humanity is from achieving that objective. He proceeds to explain in scientific terms where humanity is as a civilization and what it should become to avoid the fate of the dinosaurs; an insurance policy of sorts. From there on he moves deeper into the physics of inter planetary travel; slowly increasing the complexity of topics being tackled. He proceeds to the  colonization of our solar system and later to the star systems nearby; going over the progression of humanity in great detail.

Eventually reaching the realm of the abstract and science fiction. He starts speaking about the Unified field theory aka the The theory of everything, Time travel, wormholes, structure and existence of multiverses and so on.

To a nerd, this books offers little; at-most it is a reminder of that is great and wonderful in the world. Who the book really serves is the uninitiated, the many sophomore dork who can gain insight and be inspired by the world carefully laid out by Michio Kaku. This book like its author is a great advert for the future of humanity.

sign(1)

Men Without Women – Haruki Murakami

Men Without Women – Haruki Murakami

                                  Men without women is a collection short stories of, lets face it men without women. They revolve around the lives of men who has been left out without women; some willingly chose it and some by the hand of fate. What is common among them are the fact that they all eventually lose their women and as Murakami finally concludes “When you have lost one women, you have lost them all”; they lose it all.

                                  These are stories that are daunting and that linger on after the first read; some even demand a greater look and some leave a lingering sense of incompletion. For most part no story here is complete; the author demands of us the effort to conclude them and that is ofter frustrating as many of  these stories demand and extract an emotional connect.

                                 Of the half dozen stories here, a few stood out to me as a reader here. “Drive my car” the first of the stories revolves around a actor who hires a female driver to chauffeur him around and confides in her the tragic marriage of his and his friendship with his wife’s suitor after her death. “Scheherazade” which depicts one day of a man and his married mistress, and the subtle yet lovely exchange between them one day (This one left me wanting more).

                                  Murakami has a way of extracting different emotions of different people and that has always ended up dividing his readers quite deeply in factions; and these stories are no different, some scream misogyny and some see beauty.

Verdict : These stories and nevertheless beautifully crafted and eases the reader through the pages and elicits deep emotions. deciphering Murakami is a profession and that for another man to take up, for me they are beautiful and lovely.

sign(1)

Forest of the Pygmies – Isabel Allende

u341fevwh7ngw7nlvxickikw2pmyaglw8rbmsyetkuwfdnw30mcanfzgw4gmrz0e5dffzpffvj8mpeafjygmmb65m9isyjgxo3rswsw1oyzkgsradzgmvyczu

This novel by Isabel Allende is an easy addictive adventure-thriller of superior quality. For the general reader it is the story of a band of completely different people (A missionary, two preteens, a raunchy pilot, a bold photographer in search of his big moment and a journalist) exploring  the unexplored riverines of Ngobe in search of the missionary’s missing colleagues.

But for some others it is the story of the Pygmies, their exploitation, their suffering and their utter de-humanization by those more powerful than them. It is for them the story of slavery, of deception, of oppression and the malice of power. It is in all a melancholic travelogue about the liberation its uncertainties, its inherent hope and that pinch of magic that we all so desperately desire.

The book is a beauty to read, easy to fall in love and amazingly capable of transferring the reader to the darkest deepest most beautiful magical forests. The visual devices takes this journey to another level of addictive ecstasy altogether. Isabel Allende is a marvellous writer, one for the ages.

09d63-sign

Book Review : Redemption by Karen Kingsbury

“The perfect travel companion, blissfully light and engaging”.

Redemption by Karen Kingsbury is the first in the Redemption series, A trilogy revolving around the Baxter family, a highly religious and orthodox family living in Bloomington, Indiana. Redemption, the first book in the series redemption revolves around Kari Baxter. When Kari Baxter finds out that her husband, Tim Jacobs a college professor who is having an illicit affair with his understudy, her whole world falls apart. She is further devastated when he asks for a divorce. The much distraught Kari takes to religion and its echelons to save her and her marriage from this crisis.

http://ws-in.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?&f=ifr&MarketPlace=IN&ServiceVersion=20070822&WS=1&ID=8042_ProductLink&Operation=GetProductLink&lt1=_blank&bc1=000000&IS2=1&bg1=FFFFFF&fc1=000000&lc1=0000FF&t=pagofflif-21&o=31&p=8&l=as4&m=amazon&f=ifr&ref=ss_til&asins=1414333005

Redemption is the story of betrayal and as the name of the book gives away ‘redemption’, Karen reiterates that the troubles of Kari are not enough reason to throw away a otherwise perfect marriage away and that marriage like all relationships require care and effort. Redemption is by far Karen’s effort to convince the reader that even perceivably devastating betrayals in marriage can also be forgiven and a that a stronger marriage can at times be redeemed from these ashes.
Karen builds up a fairly elaborate family, each member with their own problem and in midst of her narrative she occasionally takes a detour to ramp the reader up on the background stories of the rest of the Baxter. Even then she forgets many main characters and fails to build them up, unfortunately they just remains as names and references. The most unforgivable of those is the story of Angela, Tim’s lover. Even though she is central to the story she is conveniently forgotten. The story and its over reliance on religion and not on reason and the fact that the very story that is central to the book, the story of how the reconstructs their broken marriage is ill developed and leaves gapping holes and enormous in-continuity in the narration.
Otherwise the 360 odd page page-turner is a fairly light read, its one book that could keep you company during a short journey and would provide you with reasonable amount of entertainment. It however doesn’t reach up-to the authors reputation of being an inspirational masterpiece.

Available at : Amazon.in
  In association with :

The Love Diet by Shonali Sabherwal

The very first impression of The Love Diet by Shonali Sabherwal india’s best nutritionologist was of disappointment as the book was of questionable quality. Considering that it comes with a 250 Indian rupee price tag ( that’s approximately a little now than 4 US dollars), I was disappointed at the off white or rather brownish paper and the less than premium front cover that the book featured. The paper brightness severely affects and compromises the readability and the feel of the book.  What surprised me further is the fact that the book came from the stables of a globally reputed publishing house such as Random House. The book reflects very badly on them a degree greater than it does on anyone else.
But then again a book must not be judged by it’s cover or it’s paper quality alone but by the quality of the matter it’s pages contain. Ms Shonali starts off with a lengthy description of the eastern history of medicine and it’s many interpretations be it the yin and yang from China or the chakras from India. She goes on to elaborate the need for balance of forces and how food can achieve it and how food can in turn affect and alter your essential balance. Now history and information is good but where it goes out of hand is when it lasts for almost two thirds of the book and that’s when it borders and then slowly crosses into rhetoric. She goes on and on about the nature of relationships and out of place rhetorics about mind and body and the healing power of the soul. Almost always they are the things that we are constantly hearing. But she does have some interesting sections of popular myth busting and much needed classifications on food habits.
The 130 page rhetoric lecture does finally  move into the much awaited section on recipes of love and healing. Some them are quite interesting and not mention extremely delicious and mouth watering even on paper.  Fascinating. If you ask me this is what I will say as the most appealing part of the whole book is to me. This is what the book was about and what all the drum roll led up-to. But again here  I feel that much more could have been done. Brief descriptions of how the recipe works and why it’s a love dish could have be more promising and useful than all of the 130 page rhetoric on things that already everyone knows and nobody gives a damn about.
My final verdict for the book is simple, it’s not all a waste of money and effort. But at the same time much more could have be done to make the book a far better one. Frankly the book just feels out of place in it’s avatar, its a coffee book trapped in a textbook. Random house turned what is clearly a coffee table book containing a lot of colorful dishes and their recipes complete with short meaningful descriptions of how they enhance you and your love into pages and pages of bubbling rhetoric on a less than impressive packaging.

Navigate by Norman Vincent Peale

“The best thing to do id to get healed of negatives in life, become filled with faith” hence goes the words by Dr Peale as it appears n the introduction of the book and that exactly is the purpose and vision of the book. He seeks to replace the negativities in life with a positive outlook through the medium of prayer and faith. Dr Peale was a minister by occupation and this has aided him in bearing witness to the many sufferings there is and as he himself states that the sheer volume if published as a book could be consider as the account of all human suffering. This very aspect of his occupation has also helped him witness many miracles and has shown him what the human spirit can achieve ones it is determined to so so. This book is a guide to help realize that potential.

That being said one of the greatest back-draws that I experienced when reading the book was also culminating from the fact Dr Peale was a minister and that his proximity to his religion and its intricacies. The book is full of references to Bible, anecdotes, events and stories from the Bible and the christian religious world view. Now I don’t mean to say that the book is a christian doctrine, but any person totally unaware or illiterate of the christian world view would find it hard to comprehend and fully appreciate the wisdom of Dr Peale. 

Peale at length talks about the importance of faith and the power and potential of the human spirits and all the chapters in the book is directed towards discovering that potential and that faith. He asks for unflinching faith and he preaches of the enormous life altering strength that is dormant in every one of us. he seeks to liberate that strength by means of prayer and faith. He believes and with the aid of several examples from his life and the ones he touched emphasizes on to the reader this belief of his.

The whole essence of the book can be found in the phrase “Be filled with love and faith” and he prophesies that all your vows will be gone once that is achieved. The book is an excellent guide to any one who finds himself in a doldrum and seeks to escape that impasse. Once you are willing to look deep into the elements of christianity in this book and seek out its meaning and why he choses to use it, this becomes and excellent guide but even without that all you have to do look beyond them and the book will serve its purpose, and will help navigate you through your life.
In association with Jaico Publishing House

Aisle be Damned by Rishi Piparaiya

Rishi Piparaiya has truly outdone himself and has shown himself to be a master of satire. He has shown great care and acute observational skills in picking the most annoying and embarrassing of things that happen in one’s day to day exchange with the airport and it’s queer inhabitants and projected them in a hilarious and thoroughly entertaining way. He has given an whole new outlook to the things that happen in and out of an airplane. Seriously who would have thought that my missing jacket was actually stolen by the Italian mafia. 
Rishi uses a delicate and simple style of writing to convey his story and that too with an even flavor of humour and satire. There is a chance that his sense of humour, predominant his style of humour would come across as slapstick to some but it is undeniable that he got a suave way of making his readers laugh. Anyone who has ever been on a flight and anyone who has seen the way the various quirks of the aluminium tube that flies will find it interesting and can relate to it seamlessly. It is just an understatement to say that Rishi has outdone himself.
They book though randomly satirical, is not random at all in organization. The book is neatly edited and organized as in the order of which the events would occur in an actual flight, from take off to landing and this differentiate ‘Aisle be damned’ from a regular book of jokes and into a humorous page turner. I will though advice the ones who have not flown to keep away, you don’t need to add to your aviatophobia do we and secondly most jokes would appear to be tasteless and blown up to a person who is unaccustomed with such an environment as an airport. 
But for everyone else this is hilarious and light hearted, and would make your stomach hurt from laughing. I personally found the beginning and end to be rather bland and tasteless in nature as compared to the rest of it. I give the book a ‘good’ status and recommend it exclusively for all fliers, frequent and otherwise. The swaying hips awaits… *chuckle*
In Association with Jaico Publishing House.

The Story of Amazon.com by Sara Gilbert

“The Story of Amazon.com in a nutshell”, that is what this book could easily and accurately be described as. To begin with the book is short and matter of fact; it covers almost all of the things that have happened in its 19 year existence. It covers the rise of Amazon.com and the perils it faced in the process. All the major milestones that the company achieved have also been covered. In short it tells a short story about amazon.com and how it came to be.

Sara Gilbert has done a commendable job in confining the whole story of amazon.com to a mere 65 pages and that is counting the illustrations as well. The story is kept really trim and most of the details irrelevant and not is kept out. In fact the “Story of Amazon.com” is a de-facto account of the evolution of amazon.com and leaves out any personal touch to it. There is no explorations to into the lives of Mr. Bezos nor of any one otherwise connected to the Amazon Story.
Sara does draw our attention to the various problems that the company faced and the long years it spent without ever turning any profit and the dark times it endured during the dot com burst. The hardships are again stated matter of factly and how the company managed to survive these treats not presented inspirationally either. But she does get her points and facts correct and she doesn’t leave anything either except what really helped Amazon.com become an industry leader in its domain. I would personally feel better had the book been a little longer and contained more about the rise of Amazon.com from the American dream perspective. But then again this book is not the ardent analyst, but for the young reader who could learn a lot about entrepreneurship and innovation form the story of Mr. Bezos.
The one thing I especially liked and is quite fascinating about the book is the amount of pictures that they have put in, they can on their own merit tell you the story of amazon.com and they complement the book rather well. One can just browse through these pictures and read the side notes left here and there in the book and understand the whole story that Sara is trying to say. Sara Gilbert has created a rather light hearted book that could be read with nothing more than just the willingness to open the first page, the rest is a fast and well aided journey through the 19 years of amazon.com, more like a tour of the whole thing.
Sara Gilbert clearly has her audience cut out, and she has made it clear that this is not for the serious corporate researcher in you but for the casual reader who would enjoy a little information and may be do with a little inspiration from it too. In fact this is exactly the kind of book I would gift my adolescent son just to get him to read a book.

In Association with JAICO PUBLISHING HOUSE.

Romi and Gang by Tushar Raheja


“The quintessential Indian story of a quintessential small town Indian teen.”

In India where cricket is a many a times much more than just a sport, it becomes a religion. Though this is a cliché so seldom used the truth is not far from it. Romi is a small town Indian boy, in love with cricket and religious in worship of his god ‘Sachin Tendulkar’, living in a room filled with the legends of the game and a ball hanging from the ceiling. His obsession with cricket is among the many things that makes him not so unique in the nation. He and his gang of similar minded friends who ballet over the coveted pitches in the large maidans are what can be claimed a familiar sighting almost everywhere in India.



The many mischiefs and the petty rivalries, the apprehension with girls and the secret infatuations are something every Indian boy would know all too well.  The technicalities of this story and the various aspects of cricket, though it gives the story authenticity is not what makes it a great story but the simple things that every one of us can relate to is what makes it possible for us.

The author, Mr. Raheja has attempted to recreate the life of a quintessential kid and his life, his emotions, the complexities and challenges of life faced by them with substantial success. The narrative is fluid as it travels from one encounter to another. The way the friendships are build and fostered and the many lessons of life that we learn as we walk alongside Romi and his gang of friends as they chase down their dreams on and off the pitch is mesmerizing.


With such a seemingly simple story the author attempts to drive home many great virtues that we now find only in the sleepy town and fosters the idea that winning is not everything. He shows us through Romi and his life that there are something more important that winning and that there is always a factor of luck involved in it. He makes one realize that certain failures in life are not really failures and that they most certainly does not mean that we are not good enough but on the contrary that we are good enough


Romi is what every one of us has been, or is still is. The various images that the author draws up are things we ourselves have lived through in our childhood days. Either we are Romi or one among his gang or we know Romi or one among his gang.  Part of Tushar Raheja’s success lays in the fact that the story is so close to most us on a personal basis and that one can easily relate to the many characters in the story. He has done away with needless descriptions and literary opulence in exchange for simple to read story that one can take with him. This after all is a quintessential Indian story of a quintessential small town Indian teen.










Amazon India
Flipkart
Junglee
Snapdeal