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Thursday, February 10, 2011

Boys to Men

little men1Little Men by Louisa May Alcott is a heart-warming story of 14 little boys and the amazing experiences they share on their journey to adulthood. There is no central character in this book and the first chapter helpfully informs us that the sole purpose of the book is to describe lively events that take place when people of such young age are involved.

Shy, timid Nat (recently orphaned), arrives at a boarding school with a letter of recommendation from Mr. Lawrence. Warm, well fed and medicated for his terrible cough, Nat finds a sharp contrast to his earlier lifestyle. Mr. and Mrs. Bhaer who run the boarding school observe that his soul has retained its innocence despite such harsh circumstances and make every effort possible to make him feel loved and useful.

Little Men–The Movie

Naughty Tommy befriends Nat on the first day of school who takes an instant liking to him. Looking up respectfully to the bookish Demi and finding a confidante in Demi's twin sister Daisy, Nat starts settling in and looking forward to studies as well as making new friends. Trouble brews when he invites his friend Dan to the boarding school. Mr. Bhaer, though worried about the influence of this rough, insolent lad on his well mannered boys, gets swayed by Nat's earnesty and agrees to take Dan in.

Thus begin bull fights with cows, smoking, gambling and many such vices that shake up Mr. Bhaer and make him regret his decision. Every time Mr. Bhaer feels like giving up on Dan and sending him away, his patience and love is tested a little more. 

little menWhat I really love about this book is that moral lessons have been taught so well in it. They don't seem preachy but at the same time they convince you to tell the truth more often, be polite, considerate, take care of others and most importantly about the power of love and patience. Every boy has some special talent which sets him apart from the rest and that's the reason why the characters stay with you long after you’ve finished reading the book.

I've read this book at least a dozen times. Every time, I've fallen in love with bad boy Dan, hated stingy Jack, found Tommy adorable and felt jealous of pretty Bess. This is NOT a children's book. It is just disguised as one to trick adults into reading it as a light novel while subconsciously reminding them of all the goodness that lies within them.

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Guest Blogger – Manasi Dhanorkar

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


May i Hebbe your attention


Celebrating the Ayurvedic Way of Eating!

Sukham Ayu Ayurvedic cookbookSukham Ayu, the latest cookbook by award-winning authors Jigyasa Giri and Pratibha Jain, is a celebration of ayurvedic way of eating. With easy to prepare flavourful recipes, Sukham Ayu is one of the most accessible tools to learn about self-healing food. Filled with gorgeous photographs, fresh flavours, and practical advice, the book presents the reader with delicious recipes against a backdrop of the rhythms of nature and food as medicine.

sukham ayuFrom slow-simmered curries with layered flavours to quickly sautéed dishes, these delectable recipes explore the wide world of ayurvedic cuisine beginning with a platter of sweet dishes followed by healthy soopas, an incredible range of aromatic vegetable dishes, tastefully spiced dals, home style breads and rice dishes, irresistible snacks, colourful salads and chutneys to soothing juices and thirst- quenching drinks. 

Carrot Soopa from Sukham AyuMuch more than a wonderful cookbook, Sukham Ayu serves as a concise introduction to ayurveda: the book opens with a primer on the three doshas or constitutions.  Readers will learn how to identify their ayurvedic type; Roti spread from Sukham Ayudetect imbalances; select foods, and, most importantly, put the power to heal in their own hands. The recipes demonstrate how to vary ayurvedic meals to nurture each of the ayurvedic types.

Sukham Ayu both inspires and empowers; awakening the senses and unlocking the alluring world of ayurvedic way of eating. It is a great addition to any cookbook collection.  

A quote from Sukham Ayu:
You are what you eat, claims the popular adage. Add to this the knowledge that what you need to eat is not elaborate menus with unavailable and exotic ingredients, but simple home-cooked food using regional and seasonal availables that suit your constitution. This is the quintessence of an Ayurvedic diet in a nutshell.

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Guest Writer - Ammini Ramachandran

About the Writer:

Ammini Ramachandran is the celebrated author of ‘Grains, Greens and Grated coconuts’. She is a member of the International Association of Culinary Professionals, Slow Food USA, and Culinary Historians of New York. You can view her work at her site She lives in Pleno, Texas.

Readers Inc: Attn: Fellow Book Addicts!

Readers Inc: Attn: Fellow Book Addicts!: "If any of you fellow book addicts have LOVED a book and would like to review it on this blog, please mail it to If we fi..."

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Modern-day Crusades

000ae30b_mediumThe Shade of Swords by M.J. Akbar is a powerful guide to study about Islam being a warrior class where, ‘permission is given to fight against those who wrong you’ and is known as a ‘soldier’s religion’. Jihad is only a state of transition, from being mortal to immortal.

Akbar delves into the farce associated with religion and systematically breaks the barriers to know what lies beneath the aggressive nature of the Islamic. He then describes its role in the modern settings, with the current day politics. Akbar mentions in the beginning of the text to avoid the trap of being ‘politically correct’. His style of writing is crisp and keeps an expeditious momentum throughout the book. In today’s world, religion is a very tricky subject and Akbar has dealt with it astutely.

shade of swordsJihad was first seen in the battle of Badr, where Prophet Muhammad prayed to Allah to save his believers from infidels. Hence during crisis, the only undertaking a Muslim has, is to lay his life and become a martyr, of which is glorified in the Quran. It explicitly accounts the benefits a martyr attains when he ascends to heaven. “Martyrdom is the Muslim's duty, victory is Allah's responsibility.” So, does Islam justify violence? Yes. Against those who ignore to embrace it.

The fight between Christ verses Muhammad has still not come to an end. Muslims do not believe in trinity, but the parallel religions have divided into just that many, three - Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Akbar describes the shift between the earlier crusades and the recent Osama bin Laden.

Quran does not teach to kill, but the deconstruction of texts almost always invites misinterpretations. So when it’s say, ‘Defeat is only a setback in the holy war. The jihad goes on’, it is always open to interpretations.

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Jahnavi Sanghvi

Friday, February 4, 2011




1One word which suitably describes the book is brave! It is bold, courageous and out and out. It is well documented and honest. The president of CBS News, Andrew Heyward told Goldberg says, “of course there’s a liberal bias in the news. All the networks tilt left. We all know it- the whole damn world knows it- but that doesn’t mean that we have to put it on air!” Well Goldberg did.

He could have said all the things he said in the Wall Street Journal and a lot more, without using his name, but he had the guts to attach his name to what he believed.

Alan Keyes discusses media bias with Bernard Goldberg
The reaction at CBS was predictable: Goldberg, who had worked his way up to the top of CBS news, winning several Emmys, was almost fired, given no assignments for several months, and then marginalized to bouncing from one forgotten news magazine to another for four years, until he retired in 2000.

exposeHowever, outside the media world, and even with a few quiet voices of support inside the media, Goldberg gained a national voice - all for saying what everyone else could see and yet what the media continues to deny.

The book is quirky and is heaped with sarcasm and is hence an interesting read. Goldberg has written his mind without as such sparing anybody, breaking ranks and naming names.

Liberal Media Bias - Bernard Goldberg on O'Reilly Factor
However, the book blatantly attacks not just the liberal bias but certain former colleagues of Goldberg’s as well. At times the criticism comes across to be greater than required, almost as if the book is a platform to get back at them. However the book is an invaluable aid and helps in carefully contemplating the implications of what we see in the media. We can use the knowledge gained in this process to challenge the media themselves.

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Sanhita Sinha Chowdhury