Archive for June, 2011

Book Review: Love on the Rocks – Ismita Tandon Dhankher

It is always fun to delve into a life about which you have no or very less idea. I guess that is why the spy-novels, the thrillers, the detective-novels sell like hotcakes. They give an insight into a life which is not experienced by most of the readers. That is the reason I love Arthur Hailey’s writing, he goes in such details about any industry that after reading the book you can claim to have inside knowledge of that industry. In a similar vein, the book Love on the Rocks by Ismita Tandon Dhankher attempts to explore the life on a ship.

The book is about the time spent by Sancha – wife of an officer of merchant navy- aboard a ship, along with her husband and a band of disparate people who make up the crew. A robbery takes place on the ship, Sancha finds out about the death of a cook few days before she came on-board, and soon the accidental death is found to be a murder. Sancha’s efforts along with the investigative officer’s makes up the rest of story along with her interactions with her husband.

The book is a breezy read. It has an interesting plot, and the flow of the story is quite good. Even though the mystery started quite late in the book, the editing does not let off anywhere and makes the book a quick read. The story is told from viewpoints of different people and that makes the story quite interesting as the reader has all the information. The character of Sancha was sketched out very well, but other characters could not be sketched well as they were part of the list of suspects. But even then you know a bit of background story for everybody, and it in an interesting group of people on-board that ship.

Initially in the book many characters were introduced at one go, which made it confusing to keep track of them as almost all main characters had nicknames too which were used by the other characters in conversations making it confusing at times to keep track of who is who.  It would have been great if there was a page dedicated to all main characters, their nicknames, and what do they do on the ship – meaning what exactly is their responsibility on the ship.  And I wish there was more explanation on how the cargo ship works. That could have made the read much more interesting. There were a few abbreviations which made reading a tad difficult. Had to think twice before realizing that 2/O is second officer, and till now I don’t know what is AB? These minor things did deter the flow a bit, but did not have any major impact on the reading.

On the whole an interesting book. The Metro-Reads stands true to its name – it definitely is a very quick read.

Addendum: This is an author requested review. I was contacted by the author to review her book.

Book Review: The Winning Way – Harsha Bhogle, Anita Bhogle

The Winning Way by Harsha Bhogle and Anita Bhogle marries two fields which even though are very different, they share the same set of core attributes. Management and Sports do not seem to have any relation, but they share many common traits. Instead of me trying to explain, I’ll copy-paste part of the book’s synopsis:

What do sporting champions do, what makes winning teams, who is a good leader, why do only some teams keep winning while others win only for a while and then lose… The authors dig into examples from sport to see how they can benefit managers… Contrary to popular perception ability is not a major distinguishing factor in success, especially as the level of competition increases.

I have always stayed clear of management books, unless you count the autobiographers of industrialists and pioneers in their fields; I have never been able to enjoy those books as jargon, the heavy words often make the reading laborious. The Bhogles saw that there was a connection between sports and management, and there would rarely be a person who does not understand sports. And this management book borrowed the language of sports, and it is a very easy read.

Sports anecdotes are always fun, and in this book the authors take tales from Cricket, Tennis, Golf, and even Basketball at times among other sports and find a connect between attaining your goals, leadership, winning, sustaining the winning habit, and more importantly – losing. The Australian team of the past decade finds frequent references thanks to their incessant victories, Sachin Tendulkar is mentioned more times than any other individual (deservedly so), Martina Navratilova, Lance Armstrong, Pete Sampras, Steve Waugh, Bjorn Borg, Michael Jordon crop up frequently when the authors are talking about the successful brands and how they achieved their success.

Since I have never had the stomach for management books, I’ve to admit, that there were times when I was reading for the sports anecdotes instead of the management funda, but then I guess this is the aim of the authors – make people relate to sports and through that help gain insight for management.

The book’s subject is very different from Harsha Bhogle’s earlier book “Out of the Box”, but even this one is an equally engrossing read. Anyone who reads management books, must pick up The Winning Way.

Addendum: This is a requested review. I was contacted by the authors’/publisher’s PR agency to review the book.

Manually Generated Related Link: Review of Out of the Box.

Roland Garros, bulleted.

Few thoughts on the French Open…

  • Time is such a rare commodity these days that I took nearly 3-4 days to realize that French Open had started.
  • Was wishing for a Nadal-Federer cracker, got the wish :) Got to see exceptional tennis from the two masters.
  • Djoker was blown away in the SF. Federer was majestic in that match, seemed to me he was intent on taking revenge for the Aus Open SF loss to him.
  • Earlier there was Fed, Nadal, daylight, others. Now it is Nadal, Fed, Djoker, daylight, others. Murray is still no match for the top three.
  • While I’ve always been a Nadal supporter, I’ve no doubt that Federer is the best player of all times; it is just that even though he is the best, Nadal is almost always better than him :)
  • And while I’m talking about Federer-Nadal rivalry, this article is a must read: How did Rafael Nadal humble the great Roger Federer. Bear in mind it is a two year old article.
  • It was good to see Li Na cross the final hurdle. Was rooting for her in the Aus Open, but Clijsters had been a better player that day.
  • Can someone tell me how is Caroline Wozniacki still the world number 1? Guess it is akin to SA getting the top ODI/test rankings despite not winning any major tournament. Consistency is rewarded…

It is so easy to write a post in the form of bullet points :)

Mini Reviews

Keep off the Grass – Karan Bajaj
I like Karan Bajaj’s writing. You feel disconnected with the world while reading whatever he has written, and I find that an awesome quality. But here the story hardly offers anything new, it is quite similar to the campus fictions we have been reading for a long time. The book is about the protagonist’s journey through IIM-Bangalore, and his struggles.
Can be read if there is no better book on the book-shelf.
Rating: 2.5/5

——

Jaane Bhi Do Yaaro – Jai Arjun Singh
I finished this book in one sitting; I completely enjoyed reading Jai Arjun Singh’s notes on the story behind this movie, how it was made, and how an ensemble cast of acclaimed actors (not at that time) came together for JBDY. As soon as I finished the book I wanted to see the movie once again. Youtube came to my rescue and as I searched for the “Mahabharat scene” guess what was the top result?
If you enjoy reading about the movies you love, pick this book up.
Rating: 3.5/5

——

Only Time Will Tell – Jeffrey Archer

There are some writers and some books where in spite of knowing that this book will leave me hanging mid-way you just need to read them.

I never felt like putting down the book – thanks to two things, one – exceptional writing by Jeffrey Archer and two – the story. This is a definite pick if you do not mind waiting for the next four books to come out in the subsequent years.

This is an excerpt from the review I wrote for India Book Store’s book review site.
Read the complete book review.
Rating: 4/5


Meet the Blogger…

I write! Topic does not matter, can be my life, or my travels, or any match I saw, or the Hyderabadi life, or reminiscing about Raipur, or penning Short Stories & 55s.

I can be contacted at kunalblogs[at]gmail[dot]com.

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