Book Review: Open – Eyed Meditations (#bookreview)

Book Cover: Open - Eyed Meditations by Shubha Vilas

Book Cover: Open – Eyed Meditations by Shubha Vilas

Book Details:

Name: Open – Eyed Meditations

Author: Shubha Vilas

Genre: Self-Help/Lifestyle/Motivational

Publisher: FingerPrint Belief Publishing

Publication Year: 2016

Number of pages: 280

Price: 250 INR

My rating: 4/5

The Storyline

“Open – Eyed Meditations is a beautiful compilation of thoughts wherein each meditation takes you on a journey to the past, bringing a secret herb to heal a problem of the present.”

A true distillation of ancient wisdom tips for modern lives, this unique self-help book uses the wisdom of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata to solve our everyday problems.
Beyond the storyline, something deeper is waiting to be discovered from these ancient texts. This book is an attempt to uncover the hidden layer of wealth that is cleverly packaged within the commonly known storylines.

What worked for Me (Woohoo!):

“Analysis leads to action, over-analysis leads to paralysis.” – One of my favourite lines from the book.

The first thing that got my attention when I received the autographed book, was the title of the book, “Open – Eyed Meditations”. All our lives, our minds have been conditioned into thinking that meditations must be done with our eyes closed, so that we can achieve the clarity in our thought processes and the peace that is so precious a commodity in the chaotic lives of ours. So when my eyes landed on the “open-eyed”-ness of meditations and then went on to read the rationale presented by the author, it literally did make my eyes open! The argument provided by the author is that, meditations need not be necessarily close-eyed, but rather open-eyed, so that we can observe and analyse the events going around us and embrace the lessons provided by the various teachers in our lives. Interesting, ain’t it?

Consisting of 64 chapters dealing with almost all questions of our lives, it gives a detailed examination of the queries that we all have at some point of our life, have tried to address but may not have found the correct outlet. This book tries to answer that all, with an interesting but delectable twist. Replete with suitable instances from Ramayana and Mahabharata, it provides so much of new information hitherto personally unknown along-with the philosophy, that it automatically sets this book apart from all other self-help books.

What did not work (Ouch!):

Despite the fact that this book is definitely one kind of a gem, there is one particular dissatisfactory element that I’d like to follow up with this review. I realise that in an attempt to make every chapter contain in its entirety both the philosophy and the examples from Ramayana & Mahabharata suitably aligned with it, the chapters naturally get loaded with heavy meanings. But that in itself, sometimes acted as a turn-off for reading the book. Personally, I couldn’t sit with the book for more than 1-2 hours of a day, as anything more than that was proving to be quite straining for the mind. I’ll be returning to this book time and again, sure, but I’d like to beware the readers who are looking for a quick read of the book, that this book won’t be easy.

Drum-roll: Overall Verdict

For readers who are looking to have a go at living yet again, this time maybe with a renewed philosophy full of quiet vigour, then this is the book for them. For readers who are looking for an easy quick read, this is not the book for you.

Personally, I don’t shy away from reading or being seen reading self-help books, but because some people do, for them, I’d like to suggest them to pick up this book as a philosophy book and not see it just as a self-help book. This book is as much philosophy as much motivation for a new lifestyle.

This review is a part of the biggest Book Review Program  for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

 

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Book Review: The Bestseller She Wrote (#BookReview)

41OMsGXJHML._SX338_BO1,204,203,200_Book Details:

Name:  The Bestseller She Wrote

Author: Ravi Subramanian

Genre: Fiction

Publisher: Westland Ltd.

Publication Year: 2015

Number of pages: 391

Price: 295 INR

My rating: 3/5

 

The Storyline

He was a bestseller. She wanted him to make her one. Paperback king, Aditya Kapoor’s life is straight out of a modern man’s fantasy. His literary stardom is perfectly balanced by a loving wife and a spectacular career. With everything he touches turning to gold, Aditya is on a winning streak.

Shreya Kaushik is a student with a heart full of ambition. Young, beautiful and reckless, Shreya speaks her mind and obsessively chases after what she wants. And what she wants is to be a bestselling author.

What happens when their worlds collide? Is it possible to love two people at the same time? Can real ambition come in the way of blind passion? Can trust once broken, be regained?

Master storyteller Ravi Subramanian, delves into the glitzy world of bestsellers and uncovers a risky dalliance between a superstar novelist and his alluring protege. The Bestseller She Wrote is a combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption.

What worked for me:

“The true test of a good human being is not the number of people who love you, but the number of people who learn how to love, looking at you. You don’t have any enemies, and everyone who comes in contact with you falls in love with you.”

These lines, which are said out aloud by the protagonist Aditya, while his wife Maya was battling with life and death, is just so right and perfect, that this can actually be called the high point of the book, personally for me. The lines are just so touché.

Now the first thing that came to my mind after reading the book was, it is a great coffee table book. While it is most of the times quite leisurely, but even before you realize it, it has picked up a fast pace, especially at the climax when there are colluding circumstances involving the protagonist’s dilemmas and you are left wondering to what extent would the protagonist get embroiled more into murky waters.

Which brings us to the second most amazing thing of this book, who would be the culprit’s identity. It was actually hard to guess the culprit, for nowhere in the story can the culprit be seen to do any slip-ups, which might have given a hint to the reader about his identity, unless of course, revealed at the climax by the protagonist himself.

I would want to make a special reference to the wife of the protagonist, Mrs. Maya Kapoor, whose character, I felt, was beautifully etched by the author. Her determination, her self-respect, her courage, her resilience, is something every woman can sure be expected to look up to. In fact, in today’s times, Maya Kapoor is someone who I think, can really serve as an inspirational figure.

What did not work:

The first thing that would catch the reader’s thrill, is the little tagline on the very front cover, saying, “Soon to be a motion picture”, and one can totally relate it to be one of those recent irritating trend of Bollywood movies, harping on the themes of love, betrayal and redemption. Not something some serious reader would want to have a read of.

The second thing would be the mockery of the very title of the book itself. There is little emphasis on the contents of the bestseller that the character Shreya writes, in fact you’d think it has been used rather as a mere prop to an entirely different story altogether, than what the title intends to portray.

Then there is this in-your-face fact that it is a one-time read. As I have aforementioned already, it is a coffee table, which can be over and done away with, in just one sitting. The story doesn’t really hook you or keep you grasped till the end. At one point, you feel there are some unnecessary events added just to add some cheap thrill to the story, but perhaps the author might have seen some intention behind ‘em which I personally, clearly failed to realize.

Drum-roll: Overall Verdict

For readers who are looking for some time-pass, but a bit quality time-pass, this book is recommended for those sections of readers. It is perhaps just level-head or maybe one to two points up the level of books Chetan Bhagat writes, so of course, it’s a better one comparatively.  For the readers who are looking for a serious thriller, there’s this red flag I’d be waving at you. Read at your own risk (of both time and patience). Oops, may I add, your hard-earned money too.

 

I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!

Book Review : Shattered Dreams #BookReview

sdBook Details:

Name:  Shattered Dreams

Author: Shubha Vilas

Genre: Mythology / Spiritual

Publisher: Jaico Books

Publication Year: 2015

Number of pages: 387

Price: 350 INR

My rating: 4/5

 

The Storyline 

Ramayana – The Game of Life, Shattered Dreams, which happens to be the second instalment of the series Ramayana – The Game of Life, is preceded by Rise of the Sun Prince, the first instalment which encircles the phase of Ramayana that starts before the birth of Lord Rama and ends with the glorious marriage to Sita. I haven’t read this book (I’m sorely tempted to grab the first part, after having a wonderful experience with the second one), so I can’t really give an opinion about it.

Shattered Dreams takes the story forward 12 years since the famous marriage union of Lord Rama and Sita and chronicles that part of the phase which starts with Dasaratha’s desperate but futile attempts to change his and Ayodhya’s destiny, by deciding to go ahead with a sudden coronation of Lord Rama as the king. If anybody has ever read or heard Ramayana (it would be rare if people haven’t because we have all spent at least a significant part of our childhood, listening to tales of Ramayana and Mahabharata), he/she would be quick to remember what follows after: Manthara’s devious plan leading to vitiating Kaikeyi’s initially pure and chaste mind, to install Prince Bharata as the king instead, by redeeming two unclaimed boons granted by King Dasaratha. It ultimately lead to Dasaratha’s biggest fall, be it to himself or to Rama or to Ayodhya, both apparently his other lives. It is soon followed by the riveting drama that unfolds, leading to Lord Rama’s exile for 14 years and his retreat to the Dandakaranya forest along-with Sita and Lakshmana. Unable to cope up with the loss of his son, Dasaratha expires and Bharata resolves to correct the deliberate constructed mishaps by trying to persuade Rama, only to return empty-handed, albeit wiser.

So the book essentially or the core theme of it, is about ‘shattered dreams’, be it the dreams of Dasaratha (who having horrible premonitions, had wanted to make it go into oblivion, through Rama’s coronation, which ultimately didn’t succeed) or the expectations of Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, or in that case, the dreams of all the people of Ayodhya, who had wanted to see Rama as their king.

What worked for me

The first thing that got my attention was that apart from the well-written lucidity of the book, it is the numerous footnotes that grips you, added at every such places where the deed done or decisions taken might be needed to be explained, which is painstakingly done through various easy examples, that aren’t too heavy on one’s mind. It was certainly a refreshing change, as footnotes generally are avoided, especially if that is an epic classic (as the general thought goes, that they might be too much information to process). In fact, I found myself reading each and every footnote and actually enjoying the explanations.

 

Each and every word of the dialogues that transpires in between the characters is not only etched out in details, but the background stories linked with the past history, has been beautifully intertwined with the present phase of the story. It only gives an easy pace to the story, but also makes it interesting to read.

 

As has been confessed at the very first place, I’ve not read the first book, but it doesn’t at all take away anything from this book. In fact, this book can be very well be taken as a standalone book, provided the reader does have got some idea of the story of the initial phase of Ramayana, the cue from which has been followed up in this part of the book.

 

The examples that are used are very reflective of modern dilemmas and their solutions, which conceive of ways to come out clean of situations that might make us go astray from the laid-down right way to lead life. The fact that the author is a spiritual seeker and a motivational speaker, shows through the instances given and it wouldn’t be a surprise if some readers might find this book to have the inclination of turning into a self-help book, if one goes solely by the footnotes.

What did not work

Keeping in mind that readers might face some initial difficulty in adjusting to the pace of the book, alternating between reading the story and footnotes simultaneously, this might turn out to be the only negative aspect of the book. But of course, it is the footnotes which actually seem to have a story of their own, so maybe the difficulty to adjust might just be worth it.

Drum-roll: Overall Verdict

For readers who are already initiated into the epic that is Ramayana,  this book might just be yet another enjoyable experience for them. Having read Ramayana before, I was completely outbound with a new sensation, that came with having a new perspective added on by the footnotes. Not just for the spiritual knowledge, this book can be recommended for a motivational book as well, with teachings from the glorious past pages of our ancient Indian history.

 

P.S This is my first book review, so here’s sincerely hoping I could do justice to the book.

This review is a part of the biggest “http://blog.blogadda.com/2011/05/04/indian-bloggers-book-reviews” Book Review Program for “http://www.blogadda.com” Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!