Trust no aunty

Author – Maria Qamar
Pages – 178
Publisher – Simon and Schuster
Genre – humor

What is the book?

‘ to my aunties, your aunties and the aunties we will eventually become’

I cracked up with the dedication page itself ,
The book is mainly a catalogue of different types of ‘aunties’ you find in desi parties, family functions & inside yourself. All the aunties have thier spice rating and also we have been introduced to thier habitats and how to deal with them .

For desi aunties are not just your relatives, she can be a random woman giving you judging looks, when you ask for a large cold drink at kirana store or a neighbour lady who stares at you because you came at 11pm last night and a guy dropped you.

I have been living away from home for quite sometime so I definitely have dealt with a lot of aunties from the catalogue.

There is a serious point in all the fun

So I have nieces and nephews and cousins who grew up outside of India and there are definitely alot of things they deal with but one them Maria shared here is the two different atmosphere, one in there home which is still at heart in India and ofcourse the outside world is completely different. Not all videsi friends understand that why you hide your boyfriend from your family and why you are getting into medical school if you want to be something else.
These are a bunch of serious issues, but they are dealt very lightly and in a fun way.
The author has shared her experiences,like a choice to become an artist and how she moved forward with that and how she dealt with the culture contrast.

The art in the book

Also all the illustrations are done by the author herself and because she is an artist first,the book is spectacular treat, no page is just left black and white. Also I feel she has an amazing sense of humour that comes across in her writing.

Golden Heart

Golden Heart by Emma Johnson and Paul Johnson is a memoir of every parent’s nightmare.

Paul and Emma Johnson’s 8 year-old son, Max, was a normal, healthy, fun-loving child and then on December 8th, 2016 changed all that forever; he was rushed to hospital and it was found that he had an enlarged heart. Max was suffering from heart failure and diagnosed with a condition called dilated cardiomyopathy. His heart had become so large that it was no longer able to pump the blood around his body effectively.

This book follows the ups, downs, twists and turns of this tumultuous journey, the pain of waiting for an organ, of seeing other children not make it, and The Mirror newspaper’s ‘Change the Law for Life’ campaign – for which Max became the poster boy. It recounts how it felt to finally ‘get the call’

The book also covers the relationship the Johnson family have built with Max’s donor – Keira’s family, with whom they have developed a close bond. Two families from opposite ends of the country intertwined through tragedy and fate.

The Johnson family campaigned in favour of an opt-out system for organ donation in England. In 2018 the government announced that the law will change in spring 2020 and this legislation will be commonly referred to as Max and Kiera’s Law.

Recently I had the opportunity to talk to the amazing mother of Max Johnson, Emma Johnson about their book, which is set to release on the 31st October

Johnson family

Q. The subject matter of the book is indeed heavy and emotional for the reader. I could only imagine what it would be like for you as a parent, What was your writing process like, as you penned down these moments?

A. Me and my husband sort of wrote the book together, like you write about this incidence and then I’ll write them, and it was also a sort of healing process for us because while things were happening in the real time with max in the hospital, we didn’t get much time to process them so writing this book was definitely a healing process for us .

Q. As a parent how did you deal with such a nightmare for every parent? Any advice for parents in such situation?

A. I think humour helped us alot,even during the long hospital stay we used to try and make max laugh and try to be cheerful for him ( I might have cried after leaving his ward) but humour definitely helped us to get through

Q. You were on the urgent waiting list, how did it feel to finally get the call?

A. We got a call before the actual transplant but it had to be cancelled because the donor heart was not working properly,so we had sort of a drill before the final call but when everything was happened finally it felt like max was reborn

Q. What got max and the family in the campaign?

A. There were alot of kids around us at that time, who couldn’t make it till the call, so it was actually Max’s decision to help with the campaign,and we supported him.

Q.How do max feel about the change
A. We are kind of shielding him from the limelight currently,we want his life to be as normal as possible

Q. What is your one dream with the book?
A. We wish to create awareness regarding organ donation, So if our book could help even one person & create awareness regarding organ donation it would mean alot to us. And I really wish our book to be translated in Japanese, because I have lived there for a few years and it’s like a second home to me.

*Some information regarding organ donation

You guys all have must heard about organ donation at some point in your life,Organ Donation is donating a donor’s organs like heart, liver, kidneys, intestines, lungs, and pancreas, after the donor dies, for the purpose of transplanting them into another person who is in need of an organ.

While death takes you away, your organs can stay and save another life.

Indian scenario –

More than half a million Indians are estimated to be in dire need of an organ transplant.

Some facts

Did you know In India every year nearly:

500,000 people die because of non-availability of organs

200,000 people die of liver disease

50,000 people die from heart disease

150,000 people await a kidney transplant but only 5,000 get one

1,000,000 lakh people suffer from corneal blindness and await transplant

Organ donations are legal by Indian law. The Indian government enacted the Transplantation of Human Organs Act (THOA), 1994, which allows organ donation, and legalized the concept of ‘brain death’.

How can I donate?

To be an organ donor, it is important to register by signing up for Organ Donation. One needs to fill a prescribed consent form, which can either be downloaded from National Organ and Tissue Transplant Organization (NOTTO) website or accessed from the medical facility that is approached for organ removal. In case of deceased donation, a written consent form from the lawful custodian of the body after the death of the patient is required in a prescribed application form.

The potential donor can also approach organ donation agencies for a donor card. Although not legally binding, the donor card is a means of expressing ones willingness to donate. That mean you can opt in.

Artemisia by Alex Connnor

A picture I clicked of the book for my Instagram
A blurb about the book

Book – Artemisia

Journals written in 17th century about a famous and scandalous woman, have landed in the hands of Cornelia Stein, and through her Artemisia’s story unfolds.

Artemisia was raped by her tutor, and as I could only imagine in the 17th century, it was very frowned upon (as if now)

She is forced to submit to a gynaecological examination to ensure she is telling the truth, and then literally tortured in court to make sure, Artemisia Gentileschi becomes infamous.

Reading her story in contemporary London, an elderly widow, Cornelia Stein, is very moved and wants the world to know the other side of Artemisia and rather than making profit from such historical journal,she decides to donate the writings to a museum.

Artemisia’s story is very intriguing and she was definitely ahead of her times. In an era when female painters were not easily accepted by the artistic community or patrons, she was the first woman to become a member of the Accademia di Arte del Disegno in Florence and her art depicts her thoughts rather than just queens and palaces she painted strong and suffering women from myths &  allegories.

In the time of #MeToo and Women’s Rights, Artemisia Gentileschi’s story is something that will resonate with woman of today

The last words belong to Artemisia: ‘I will show you what a woman can do.’

I’m currently also having a giveaway for this book on my twitter and Instagram, to win your copy

Click this link

Anecdotes of a white-collared slave

Anecdotes of a white-collared slave

Authors – Aashish Gupta
Pages – 143
Genre – Fiction
Publisher – Vishwakarma Publishers

Soul-Sucking colleagues, cocky bosses, weird company polices, and quirky work ethics – this story has it all A journey of every white-collared employee who could never go beyond – “chal startup kholte hai” – that will leave you in splits. Warning: Not for bosses with big egos and low sense of humor.

My views –
I have not worked in corporate world but I have worked, and therefore I could relate to the overall feel of this book,The cover has a line

” He is you,you are him”

and that’s true and relatable to a wide section of young professionals

In whichever sector you work, even if it was your dream job while you were studying, once you get in, you realise that it’s all not easy and wonderful as it used to look from the other side.

Remember how parents said “there are no free lunches in this world”. You realise this once you start earning your own money.

And like many of us, the working class, the characters here in this book also compromise alot of things for their job, most importantly there mental peace.

The writing style is very good, the whole use of satire definitely brings up a subject like this in a more entertaining way but it could use some more finishing. The characters were also believable, the kinds you see around your own office, the author choose a good representation there like Atmaramani has my sympathy ,he kind of represented the misfits in the professional world and definitely the world is not kind to those who don’t fit in.

Overall it’s a good satirical read

A flutter in the colony

Author – Sandeep Ray
Publisher – HarperCollins
Genre – historical fiction
Length – 331 pages

Blurb – in 1956, the Sengupta family move from Calcutta to Malay to start afresh life. To forget thier past troubles and form new ties but thier new home is not entirely calm, a racially motivated society is on the brink of independence even as communist insurgents hover on the periphery. How much can an outsider meddle, before all of it destroyes him

My views
A young man, his wife and son move from troublesome peri-partition Bengal to Malay in search of a better life, seems normal? but the story is definety like an onion peel, the more you read ,the more details you discover. The story follows two timelines. I.e,

1940s – Son of a wealthy family, during is village visit falls for a poor village girl, he loves her so much that when he hears that her marriage is fixed to someone else, he gather the courage to go to the village again, to ask her father for her hand in marriage. Story takes some twist and turns from there and the girl’s father dies but somehow it all works out and the girl (niropama) gets married to our protagonist.
But Mr Sengupta wants his son to become a doctor, and in those times, you did as your father said (as if now!) So out protagonist leaves behind his pregnant wife to study medicine overseas. Meanwhile Bengal his homeland suffers from huge political tumoils, and the infamous Bengal famine of 1943. He comes back in his own quater-life crisis , with an alcohol addiction, without a degree, his wife now dead & also to find his home & homeland in a deep trouble.

1950s – The Sengupta family, the young man now married to malouti and with a son are living in Malay,their past almost left behind but when he finds out that Wong,a coworker is stealing medications from their work place he falls down  a whole different trail.

The story transition smoothly from one decade to another, and things I felt were unnecessary while reading made sense a few pages later, one more thing that hit me was the realism of both the story and the characters. Most of them are so flawed but that’s what makes them believable, and how in times of desperate needs the lines between good and bad start to disintegrate. Something that might look very needed from one side might cause a big harm to others like the servant stealing rice during the great famine and the protagonist some how was caught on the side of ‘ Chinese Bandits’ in thier movement against the British Colonizers.

The books also touches on complex religious tensions during the Bengal partition and its effect on people who had to migrate. This is a staple of books around the era but there can never be enough stories to tell of the dark times.

This book is definitely worth reading, especially if you are in to historical fiction, politics and things like that.

The night circus

Author – Erin Morgenstern
Genre – Historical Fantasy
Publisher – double day
Pages – 397

In Victorian London two powerful magicians, Prospero the Enchanter and the enigmatic Mr. A.H-, groom their young proteges,
to proxy their rivalry.
They grow up preparing to face each other someday

And they finally meet, working in the wandering magical circus that is open only from sunset to sunrise. Le Cirque des Rêves (The Circus of Dreams)

But they don’t know how they will compete and how the winner will be determined and also they start to fall for each other and start to question the whole need of the competition.

Meanwhile when the producer of the circus has his memories erased, and one of the initial investors dies in dubious circumstances,the circus also starts to breakdown, they unveils that the circus serves a darker purpose beyond entertainment and profit.

Who will win ? And will the circus be saved ?

My views

This book is truly magical, and kept me hooked, written from multiple view points made it enriched and left me wanting to know more and more

There is a short story at the very beginning of the book that you might want to keep in mind, I loved the book from that beginning only, its the kind of magical world I started believing during the book and I wish it was true,
The characters are flawed and become untrustworthy during the course of story, except the twins and Baily. I doubted each one at some point during the story.

I liked the romance in background of the whole magical duel,but TBH I saw it coming from far

The book surely does end in a bitter-sweet way,but I guess there could not be any better ending for this magical story, that submerged me in it for the time I was there

Note * I may be wrong but I felt the author took some inspiration from the French magician and watchmaker –
Jean Eugène Robert-Houdin

Those who are into history and like to know what may have inspired the story,just google the name

The prodigal daughter

The prodigal daughter
Author – Jeffry Archer
Publisher – Panmacmillan
Pages – 496

Blurb – Sequel to Kane and Able,this book is about Florentyna, who is the daughter of Kane, a Polish immigrant who now has build his own American Deam in the form of the Baron hotels.

Florentyna runs hers fathers business and wants to be the first American female president.

My views

I loved Florentyna. She is very honest & smart,not only her buisness & life but also her politics. I loved the sub plots like the love story because they move the plot rather than just taking the readers time, Also I loved the real historical facts,that are added subtlety with grace,I personally feel such real details blurs the line between fact & fiction and makes the story more believable.

A lot of matter was what I already read in Kane & Able, so felt a little repetitive, but it’s from florentyna view point here & I fell it provide a recap/base for people who haven’t read the prequel.

I didn’t find the book, as good as Kane and Able but still it’s Jeffrey Archer & this is a very good book if you like politics and history fiction

YOUR DESTINATION HAS ARRIVED : An Unbelievable Story You Would Love to Believe

Author – Barry Cheema
Publisher – Notion Press
Pages – 378
Genre – Contemporary
My Rating – 3.5/5

Blurb – The story revolves around the life of Bruno a k9 police dog,who after saving many lives,Now is awarded with a human body, but it is of a terrorist and so is the subconscious mind.

What I liked ?
A fresh story line, with added philosophy.

What I didn’t like ?
This book could have been shorter and still conveyed the whole thing.

My thoughts ?
The book has more action in first part and bends more towards philosophy in the later half,I liked that it didn’t get too boring with the philosophy while still being elaborate.The characters are developed enough to make you care about them, being a dog parent I had my full heart for Bruno and felt his struggle during the ninety day trial & his struggle through Hassan’s mind, I loved the way God is present in the book. This is definitely a book worth reading.

Many Hearts One Beat

Many hearts one beat

Author – Vindya Ayyar
Publisher – The Write Order
Pages – 100
Genre – Short Stories collection

Blurb – It’s a beautiful collection of heart touching short stories,from various themes all with a touch of realism, and hence not all of them are just happy ending one’s but all have something to take away from.

What I liked?
I read a short story collection after a while and I liked this book for its simplicity and realism, Also this book is definitely a diverse one, and one can definitely find a few stories that hit their cords for sure

Yes especially if you like short stories or a newbie reader

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