How I got back to Reading! – Akhil

How I got back to Reading! – Akhil

Hi everybody!

A friend recently expressed his wish to guest write for my blog and emailed me the following.  I’m just gonna go ahead and put it right here!

I hope this helps the ones who haven’t started reading yet or who would like to get back  to this magical world!

Happy Reading!

Tanuja Shelar


How I got back to Reading!

‘I can’t find time to read’.

‘My schedule is tight’.

‘I can’t concentrate till the end even if I start reading a book’.

‘I don’t have the book I want to read at this moment.’

These are some of the many excuses that I have been giving myself for the past, I don’t know how many years. . .

As I kid I used to read a lot. My obsession with books started when I was eight. My grandfather was a member of this library right across the street from where I lived. He was an avid reader and I grew up watching him read a huge variety of books. The library allowed a member to take two books at a time and he used to take me with him to choose a book of my liking. At that age, I wasn’t interested in anything other than comics; anything other than Archie’s and the kind.

       One fine day my grandfather got frustrated with my choice of books and asked me to choose anything but a comic book. I didn’t know what to read at that time, so I asked him if I could read the book that he was reading. He happily handed me the copy of The Godfather, by Mario Puzo. I was 9! 

       Now those of you have read the book (and am sure almost all of you have) would know that The Godfather is not something a child could read or understand. That precisely was my plan. To try and read it, and then go to him complaining that I don’t understand anything so he would let me go back to my comics.

          When I actually went to tell him that I couldn’t understand the words, he said and I quote, “So what? Keep reading. Finish it.” What he said took me by surprise! He wanted me to read new words and if I didn’t understand them, I was to look ‘em up in the dictionary, and even after that, if I was confused, I was to ask him.

          I finished The Godfather, barely grasping the story after going through the aforementioned drills. But the accomplishment of finishing the book lit a desire for more. I enrolled into the library at my school and it opened to me a world of  books like ‘The Famous Five’, ‘Goosebumps’, ‘Hardy Boys’, ‘Sherlock Holmes’ and many more. I was hooked.

Nothing could stop me  now.

Nothing except work.

         At twenty two, I dropped out of college to open my own little cafe. I have always been passionate about food and hence, the cafe! The problem with that was a tremendous amount of workload. My reading had anyway reduced during college, but it just stopped after work started. My TBR list just kept getting bigger but I was never able to start, let alone finish a book. It was frustrating. 

       One day I said to myself “That’s it! I am going to start reading tomorrow.” I went out and bought the box set of ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’. With renewed hope I opened the first book. Read ten pages. Got bored. And quit. I was more interested in my phone or my laptop.

          I thought this was it. I will never read again. I was consumed by technology and the internet. But then, after reading my good friend Tanuja’s blog, I approached her for some advice. She told me a trick to get back to reading. She lent me a “book light”! She gave me a book; Pay the Devil by Jack Higgins (with a bookmark as well!)  and told me to read it every night till i fell asleep.

Well guess what?

        I finished the book in just two days. I thought to myself “I am back”. This was yesterday. Today I am reading Open by Andre Agassi and I am already at the quarter mark of the book. I believe I wouldn’t be stopping again. Let’s see how it works out in the future.

– Akhil Katkar

( Owner of BreadandButter)

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BOOK 1 – Night Games by R.L Stine

BOOK 1 – Night Games by R.L Stine

Hello everybody!

As mentioned in my last post I have started my book reviews for the 2016 horror challenge.
My first review is on a book by one of my favorite authors, R.L Stine !
As a guest writer I’m posting these reviews on vellichorbookclub.com

So please check my review here when you can and you can post your feedback there or here 🙂
Any book suggestions would be most welcome!

Thank you so much for all the support!

Tanuja Shelar

2016 Horror Reading Challenge!

2016 Horror Reading Challenge!

Hello Guys!
I’m so excited so so so excited! I have signed up for my first reading challenge ever!

It’s the *drumroll*  HORROR READING CHALLENGE by Cornerfolds! Hosted by BooksMoviesReviewOhMy.

I have never done a book challenge before but this one caught my eye.
It started at the beginning of this year but I’m hoping to catch up soon. And hence I will be posting my reviews, two Mondays every month

Goal: Well I’m hoping to cross 20.

I know its ambitious but c’mon! Its my favorite genre! and I haven’t read it in a while!

They also have these amazing badges! And I’m hoping to get the Horror Hound badge which is for 20 and more books! So please wish me luck and watch out for the reviews!

Another drumroll please!!!

This is a double whammy announcement! I have been invited as a guest writer on  VellichorBookClub!!!! Oh what an honour!

So this book challenge will posted on her blog as well as mine!

Please do check her blog out! She is an upcoming blogger and fiction writer (show off much Carissa?) and has some amazing reviews waiting to be read !

 

P.S. – If you wanna join in please do check their rules and book list! 

My Dystopia – What if books did not exist?

My Dystopia – What if books did not exist?

 

“There must be something in books, something we can’t imagine, to make a woman stay in a burning house; there must be something there. You don’t stay for nothing.”
― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

           I recently finished reading Fahrenheit 451. It had been on my TBR list for the longest time but somehow I got around to it only just now. It is a small book of merely 159 pages. Easy read! Or so I thought . . .

           Fahrenheit 451 is one of the few books that has made me pause in dismay. It is a dystopian novel by Ray Bradbury wherein reading books is illegal and books are burnt by the ‘firemen’ if found! Good God! Could you even imagine such a world?

            Don’t get me wrong! I love reading the dystopian genre. I could digest all of them, including A Clockwork Orange with absolute ease, never giving them another thought except to ponder over, as I am sure we all have from a distance, it’s complexities and possibilities. But this one got too real, too personal, too fast. Yet, I could not stop.

            I was hooked. As I read on, I felt like I was watching a horror movie. You are scared but you cannot look away. That’s exactly what Bradbury’s writing does to you. His sentences are concise, descriptive yet abrupt in an inexplicable way. They completely wrap you up in the moment he wants you to experience.

           Through Montag, the protagonist, whose point of view we follow in the book, we witness his gradual realisation of what has happened to his world, and it’s full impact on him. As I followed the story, his thoughts merged with mine. I was in the book and I was here too.

I suddenly thought what if books had never existed . . .

It reminded of this one story that H.G Wells had written. It is a story about a dwelling of men to whom  the sense of sight had been lost for generations. Instead of eyes, they had empty sockets that looked like closed slits and with time their mind too had closed to the conception of this sense. They were able men and intelligent too, but the lack of vision and the refusal to accept even a mere possibility of it had limited their knowledge and given way to superstition and ‘blind’ beliefs.

You might think, “They are better off if they don’t know what they are missing!” Contrarily, I feel, never knowing what we have missed or all that we could have had, is the worst punishment we as humans could suffer through.

So I thought, if books never existed, our entire history would just be a chain of events, with words falling like dominoes from generation to generation. Words that could have been concrete and tangible would be lost to the world forever.

All our knowledge would be accumulated from the morbid chinese whispers of our ancestors, distorted and prejudiced. No research. No facts. No proofs. Nothing. Just words, spoken to the wind. Heard by some and then heard by none.

 

And then we’d never know how good we could have had it. . .

I think I should stop here before I make us depressed!

 

Coming back to the world of Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury stresses again and again, that books did exist and that it wasn’t the government or any villainous firm but the general population itself has subconsciously outlawed the books. They had just stopped reading.

I marvel at and dread his foresight!

“Oh I’ll just wait for the movie to be made” they say these days. . .

“Who has the time to read!” they say these days. . .

Movies and reels replacing books and ink . . .

Watchers scoffing at the Readers . . .

 

Is this what you were warning us about Ray?

 

Tanuja Shelar

 

P.S.  You can find it at Amazon 

Hello!

Hello!

Hello There,

                 Welcome to my blog! I’m Tanuja Shelar and this is my first blog post! So yay me! I am not what people would describe as a shy person but when it comes to letting them see how I write, I’m definitely apprehensive. So you can understand as I’m typing these words out, I’m totally stepping out of my comfort zone.

It’s my love for books that has got me here. I grew up on books. Books of all kinds. Stories of others, written by others weaving into mine and leaving a long lasting impression on every phase of my life. I feel books are magic unto themselves.

They are portals through which I can travel back or forward in time and space, to see, to feel, to imagine that someone else in some other part of the world in some other epoch saw, felt and imagined. Isn’t that just incredible? Books have made their creator, eternal.  Their thoughts will exist forever like a legacy that whoever reads will carry forward with them. I wish I could include myself among those fascinating creatures, ‘authors’.

Whenever I am reading a book I absolutely love, I sometimes stop and try to imagine how the author might have written it. I imagine words tumbling in their heads like notes of music which they conduct in a beautiful symphony with their pens.

Alas! I don’t think I have achieved as of yet, the calibre of an author but I still wish to contribute what I can for this magnanimous industry. That is why I have taken this challenge for myself to bring the best of/in the books right to you.

I am going to write personal reviews and reports of books old and new, discuss views of other bibliophiles, maybe interview a few writers and seek out your opinions as well. If there are any books you wish me to review please drop in a word and I’ll be happy to oblige.

If you are not into books (like such a thing could exist!), please stick around. Maybe you’ll find something that catches your eye and make you read just a little further.

 

Happy Reading, everybody!

My First Book Meet!

My First Book Meet!

             Having decided I do not have enough bookworms around me (most of my friends wait for the movies! yuck! ), I scavenged Facebook for some groups I could join. I stumbled across ‘Book Deals for Broke Bibliophiles: India’. It is a public group created by Ritesh Agarwal.

It does exactly what it says and more. Members of this group can get amazing deals online for books and ebooks alike. I recently ordered Tina Fey’s Bossypants for exactly 1/4th  its cost! Yay!

But this group is more than just irresistible discounts. The members have taken it upon themselves to have book meets all over the country. I was jealous that I hadn’t been to any, ever. I felt like I was writing a recipe book without ever having cooked! You get me ?!

So I enquired and I was quickly added to the ‘Broke Bibliophiles: Pune whatsapp’ group! After a lot of back and forth, a meet up was arranged and at least 10 people had signed up for it.

Date: 12.06.2016

Venue: Pagdandi Books Chai Cafe, Aundh

I could hardly wait!

What happened was, what always happens. People cancel. People wait. People get late. Well, I was late. I hesitated. I always do when I’m doing something for the first time. I imagine the worst case scenario and most often back out.Not this time though. I was adamant. So went ahead, I did. I am so glad I didn’t cancel because it turned out to be much better than I had expected!

Yes. People had backed out. We were only 4 us and I was disappointed about it but only for a few moments. We started talking about books as soon as I sat down. Introductions were thrown in between names of books and authors.

We sat in a quaint little cafe called Pagdandi. It is THE cafe for book lovers! It was Ashish the IT guy, Manish, the Learned, Omkar the Quiz guy and I, the Sponge ( I absorb the books!), comfortably seated, surrounded by books and book lovers.

IMG_20160612_201857
Broke Bibliophiles: Pune (12.06.2016)

As soon as we started talking, I felt like I just wanted to listen to them talk. Between the three of them, you could probably get an inexhaustible TBR list. Post-apocalyptic and science fiction novels were discussed with rapidity. I think it was because they had so many books to talk about they couldn’t go through them any faster.

Manish n Ashish described wonderful plots, stories and characters, sans spoilers of course! Omkar, quickly showed us what he was reading currently,  a story about Bangladesh after the Partition,(see below) and we naturally moved on to books about wars.

The conversation seemed to be random and yet seamlessly flowed from one book to the other. Manish, a trainer by profession, compared the characters from Greek and Indian mythology. He seemed like an apt storyteller one needs around a bonfire and marshmallows under a starry night. Omkar started talking about origin of words and we started quizzing each other over words like ‘Diamond’ and ‘Tantalising’ and full forms of ‘Scuba’ and ‘Noida’!

I then, showed them the french book I was carrying, which took us to the subject of culture and literature. Various books of european authors were spoken about and we all laughed at each other’s anecdotes about our stays abroad.

Suddenly Ashish asked me. “Why are the French supposed to be rude?”

I, of course launched a speech in their defense but that’s a story for another day. . .

I was absolutely loving it. Every moment of it. Here I was, with three people I had nothing in common with, had never met before and yet, I had found my kindred spirits. Over chai and coffee, we devoured delicious sandwiches and fascinating stories. We discussed ideas for our next meet.

Next meet up: Talk about a book you think everyone should read.

Time flew by, afternoon gave way to dusk and I was none the wiser. A call from a friend brought me back from the book heaven. It was time to go. Even then, we couldn’t stop talking and I tore myself away from the cafe somehow and hurried back to tell my friend all about it.

As we paid the bill, we noticed several books we had discussed, were right there in the cafe!!!

Next meet: in 3 weeks

I can hardly wait!

 

Tanuja Shelar

 

P.S: Check out the books we spoke about and the cafe we were at.

Special Mention: Omkar the Quiz guy has a blog about. . . well. . . quizzes! It will keep you entertained for ages and improve your general knowledge as well!

Your TBR list! 

  1. Dune – Frank Herbert
  2. Ringworld – Larry Niven
  3. The Guns of Navarone – Alistair MacLean
  4. Books of Isaac Asimov
  5. The Man in the High Castle and other books of Philip K Dick
  6. Encyclopedia of Greek Mythology
  7. Our Are The Streets – Sanjeev Sahota
  8. Le Premier Homme/ The First Man – Albert Camus
  9. The Shiva Trilogy – Amish Tripathi

Omkar’s Quiz Blog – justaquizzer.blogspot.in