I Am in Love #WriteBravely

In Love

I never thought that I would fall so deeply in love but I have, and hard. I resisted the temptation for years and when I couldn’t ignore it, I treaded the path, gingerly and with a lot of skepticism. The initial misgivings were because I come from old school of thought. Since, I had taken the plunge, there was no turning back. Yes, I don’t do things half way. Before long, I realized that I was enjoying myself and that came as a big surprise!  I thought that this was a fleeting feeling and that it would die its death soon. But, surprise, surprise, with each passing day, my love grew deeper and stronger. And I can say it boldly that my life has changed and believe me that it is not an exaggeration.

Yes, I am in love with my Kindle…truly, madly and deeply!!

It was 2014 and I had to review a book for a friend which was available only in the Kindle format. Prior to this book, I had read a PDF book on Kindle app which was a bad bad experience. Since I HAD to review this book, despite a lot of apprehensions, I read it on the Kindle app on my phone and I quite liked the experience. Slowly and gradually, I was sucked into the world of Kindle books.

When I won a Kindle in a blogging contest, my happiness knew no bounds. Today, I prefer reading Kindle books over physical books.

Recently, I had to review a paperback. I picked it up and gave it up after first chapter. Somehow, I found the small font size and even holding the book in my hands a bit cumbersome. I looked up for its Kindle version and thankfully, it was available on Kindle Unlimited and finished reading it in no time.

Yes, that’s another thing I like about Kindle books. I have been able to read more number of books and at a faster pace as well.SAVE_20170805_223905

The other day, I was checking a paperback and came across a new word. I kept pressing and holding the word harder for it to show me the meaning. It was a few seconds later, I realized that I was digging a hole in the paperback.

I carry my Kindle everywhere as it fits well in my purse unlike the paperbacks which can be sometimes bulky. In case, I forget to carry it, which is rarely, the books syncs across all devices and I can continue reading it on my phone.

My library cupboard is overflowing with books. In fact, the books are packed like sardines and this is when I have donated 45 books to a local library. Even if I want to, I cant afford to buy more paperbacks because I just don’t have space to store them. With Kindle, I can buy books to my heart’s content and that they are economical than the printed books is an added advantage.

I was that girl who believed in the smell and feel of a new book, loved caressing the glossy cover with my fingers, and arranged and re-arranged the books by genre, size, colours… but all that has changed. Kindle has truly transformed my reading habit and has made me more addicted to the written word.

Are you a Kindle convert like me? Or are you still in love with reading the good old-fashioned paperbacks? Or are you a bit of both?

Linking this to the Write Tribe’s Festival of Words

Day 2 – Prompt – Share about a resource/s you have or use

IMG-20170804-WA0050Image Courtesy : Pixabay

Ouch! That’s Awkward! Teaser Tuesday #2

After I finish reading my current book, I’ll be picking up Our Socially Awkward Marriage by Tom and Linda Peters. Raw and personal, this book of essays was first inspired by Tom’s challenges with Asperger’s Syndrome, but the humorous bite-sized stories apply to any kind of interpersonal communication.

I’ll be reading this book containing funny and heartfelt true stories from inside an Asperger’s relationship as part of my Humor Reading Challenge.

Our Socially Awkward Marriage

Tom came to the bed fretting.  “What’s wrong?” I said.

“The tile pattern in the bathroom floor.” he said. “I cant figure out where they started it.”

Teaser Tuesday

If you fancy joining in, here’s how…

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
  • Share the title and author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

To Bee…. Teaser Tuesday #1

Last week, I saw the Teaser Tuesday meme at Tulika’s Beat About the Book blog and simply loved it. And I had to join in.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by  A House of Books and has pretty simple rules…

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two teaser sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!
  • Share the title and author so other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

The Bees – A Novel by Laline Paull is currently on my Kindle. I have just finished two chapters and I already hooked to the story. I am reading this book for the prompt, ‘A book from a nonhuman perspective’.

The Bees

Here are my two teaser sentences taken at random from this book…

“You wept,” he said. “I heard you. Are you sick?”
“For love,” Flora said.”

These words have piqued my curiosity and I am keen to read all about Flora 717, a sanitation worker bee who is bigger, darker, smarter and more talented than the rest of her clan and this is dangerous. She even breeds and everybody knows only the Queen Bee has that right. So, there is a lot of drama and action as bees live by the rigid hive rules of Accept, Obey, Serve, even when it hurts. This book would also take us in the fascinating world of a bee society and its structure and lot of facts with bee psychology too. Now, isnt that super interesting!

What’s on your current reading list? Do share in the comments section below. And if you can join in for the Teaser Tuesday, it would be fab. Go on, find something enticing from your book and link it up at A House of Books.

My 2017 Book Reading Challenges

My 2017 Book Reading Challenges

I have always been a bookworm. Of late, I would describe myself as an obsessed bookworm. I thoroughly enjoyed my book reading challenges last year. And this year in 2017, I’d like to challenge myself with some more challenging reading goals.

Now, you may ask, why should I be taking up these book challenges when I love reading so much. Well, the thing about reading is that even though you may be obsessed about it, it is easy to let it fall by the wayside. In the hustle and bustle of every day work, chores and life in general, suddenly you realize that it’s been days since you picked up a book.

And for this you certainly need book reading challenges.

When you pick up reading challenges, you are consciously deciding to read and when you do that, you will certainly find time to read no matter what. Also reading challenges broaden your scope of reading as you get to explore a whole lot of books. From diverse genres and topics to variety of authors, from different characters in every book to distinct settings,  from short tales to really long ones, from classics to contemporary stories, from fiction to non-fiction, from memoirs and biographies to banned and challenged books, from books in various formats to books outside your comfort zone, reading challenges prompt to read all these and much more. Another interesting aspect of taking up reading challenges is that it makes your reading list so lively. And the fun of finding books for the various prompts and then the joy of ticking off the books in your planning sheets. Aah! It’s simply exhilarating.

This year, I am going to explore and soak in the amazing world of books by taking up the following reading challenges…

1. Goodreads : 

2017 Reading Challenge

Shilpa has
read 3 books toward
her goal of
125 books.
hide

2. HT Brunch Book Challenge : This is easy peasy. The challenge is to complete at least 36 books by December 31st, with at least six books by Indian authors, or those centred on India.

3. 2017 Pop Sugar Reading Challenge : I loved doing this challenge last year and this year there are 40 book prompts to help diversify PLUS an “advanced” section with 12 books for hardcore readers.

pop sugar 2017

4. The 2017 Audiobook Challenge : Last year, I explored reading with my ears and I loved the experience. Last year, I attempted the Newbie level and this year, I’d try to be a Weekend Warrior.

Levels for The 2017 Audiobook Challenge are :2016-Audiobook-Challenge

  • Newbie (I’ll give it a try) 1-5
  • Weekend Warrior (I’m getting the hang of this) 5-10
  • Stenographer (can listen while multi-tasking) 10-15
  • Socially Awkward (Don’t talk to me) 15-20
  • Binge Listener (Why read when someone can do it for you) 20-30
  • My Precious (I had my earbuds surgically implanted) 30+
  • Marathoner (Look Ma No Hands) 50+

5. Banned/Challenged Books Reading Challenge 2017 Banned Books: There’s something intriguing about the banned / challenged books. I have never read such books. I’d like to explore some of the books that created controversy.This has the following Levels

  • Read 1 book. You are an Ember. You’re small but mighty just waiting to burn the structure down.
  • Read 2-6 books. You are Creeping. You’re burning with a low flame and spreading slowly.
  • Read 7-12 books. You are a Blow-up fire. Sudden increase in fire intensity strong enough to upset control plans
  • Read 13+ books. You are Uncontrolled. Any fire which threatens to destroy life, property, or natural resources.

6. 2017 Diverse Reading Challenge : I liked the guided reading this challenge provides through its diverse prompts.This has monthly mini challenges:

  • January– diverse folklore/mythology (e.g. South Asian mythology, Russian folklore, Japanese folklore, Greek mythology, Chinese folklore, etc.)
  • February– POC Main Character / Biracial / Multiracial
  • March– main characters with a disability
  • April– mental health
  • May– religious diversity
  • June & July– sexuality and gender identity
  • August– non-Western setting
  • September– #ownvoices
  • October– Intersectionality
  • November– diverse retellings
  • December– 2017 Releases

7. eBooks Reading Challenge 20172017RC ebookThis is going to be my absolute favourite, for now-a-days, I want to read only Kindle books, though in this challenge one can read any electronic format of the book viz PDF, nook, plain text, EPUB, iBook, Mobi etc.Levels in this challenge are…

  • bit – 1 book
  • Byte – 10 books
  • Megabyte – 25 books
  • Gigabyte – 50 books
  • Terabyte – 75 books
  • Petabyte – 100 books
  • Empty the Cloud – 101+ booksI’d like to go for Empty the Cloud but may be I’d actually do the Terabyte, because I have a lot of paper books that are begging my attention.

8. Humor Reading Challenge 2017 : Humor Reading Challenge 2017No genre of books brings me as much joy as the books in the humor genre. I simply love reading the fun, funny, witty, entertaining and satirical books. I am aiming to reach the ‘Stand Up Comedian’ level with this challenge.

Levels for this challenge are…

  • Cartoonist: 1-5 books
  • Humor Columnist: 6-10 books
  • Comedy Writer:  11-15 books
  • Stand Up Comedian: More than 15 books

9. LGBTQIA Reading Challenge 2017 : LGBTQIA Reading Challenge 2017This one is a pretty unique reading challenge. For this one,

  • You have to read one book of at least 100 pages. 
  • Book should have a main character or significant secondary character that fits one of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender, Queer, Intersex and Asexual requirement.

10. #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks 2017 : ReadMyOwnDamnBooksbutton

Aah! This is something I seriously need to do it. I have so many unread books in my library cupboard and Kindle. It’s high time, I finish reading them before picking up new ones.

The rules are simple…

  • You make the rules
  • Be as hardcore (or not) as you want

It’s going to be a busy reading year for me and I am really looking forward to read some good books. I can feel it in my bones that this is gonna be exciting. Wish me luck for my ambitious reading goals.

Are you taking up any reading challenges? Any tips/ suggestions you have for me as I chase my 2017 Book Reading Challenges. Do share in the comment box.

Taking Stock of My Book Reading Challenges 2016

Happy New Year, folks! I wish that 2017 is rich with the blessings of love, joy, warmth, and laughter for you and your loved ones.

I know, it’s been eleven days since the New Year has rolled in and I am late in waking up to this momentous occasion on my blog. But like they say, better late than never! Hope you are sticking to your new year resolutions and turning them into habits. I have set some goals and challenges for myself in the new year, but more about them a bit later. First, it’s time to take stock of the challenges that I took last year.

Last year, I set for myself some pretty ambitious reading challenges. Yes, I took 6 reading challenges. I took these various reading challenges because I am truly book obsessed and wanted to add variety in terms of authors and genres in my reading. So without much ado, let’s do a bit of review of my reading challenges of 2016.

1. Goodreads 2016 Reading Challenge

I planned to read 150 books and I actually did it.

2016 Reading Challenge

2016 Reading Challenge Shilpa has completed her goal of reading 150 books in 2016!

150 of 150 (100%)

view books

2. HT Brunch Book Challenge

It was a simple one. All one has to do is read at least 24 books before the end of the year and at least three of those 24 books must be Indian.

I read 30 books for the HT Brunch Book Challenge. The first book that I marked for #BrunchBookChallenge is eluding my memory and records too, though.

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3. Pop Sugar : This one was pretty interesting, creative and challenging. I simply loved finding a book for each of the prompt and then reading it.

Pop Sugar 2016 Reading Challenge

These are the books that I read for the various prompts…

1. A book based on a fairy tale Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Book 1) – Marissa Meyer
2. A National Book Award winner Harry Potter and The Chamber of Secrets – JK Rowling
3. A YA bestseller Looking for Alaska – John Green
4. A book you haven’t read since high school Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
5. A book set in your home state Fighting for Tara – Sunanda J. Chatterjee
6. A book translated to English The Autobiography of a Sex Worker – Nalini Jameela
7. A romance set in the future Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles Book 1) – Marissa Meyer
8. A book set in Europe The Girl on the Train – Paula Hawkins
9. A book that’s under 150 pages Tumor – John Grisham
10. A New York Times bestseller Seriously… I’m Kiddiing – Ellen Degeneres
11. A book that’s becoming a movie this year The Best of Me – Nicholas Sparks
12. A book recommended by someone you just met Karna’s Wife – Kavita Kane
13. A self-improvement book Don’t Lose Your Mind, Lose Your Weight – Rujuta Diwekar
14. A book you can finish in a day How I Braved Anu Aunty and Co-Founded a Million Dollar Company – Varun Agarwal
15. A book written by a celebrity Yes, My Accent Is Real – Kunal Nayyar
16. A political memoir I Am Malala – The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban – Christina Lamb and Malala Yousafzai
17. A book at least 100 years older than you Anne of Green Gables – Lucy Maud Montgomery
18. A book that’s more than 600 pages She Walks, She Leads – Gunjan Jain
19. A book from Oprah’s Book Club Love in the Time of Cholera – Gabriel García Márquez
20. A science-fiction novel The Martians – Andy Weir
21. A book recommended by a family member One Indian Girl – Chetan Bhagat
22. A graphic novel Sick of Being Healthy – Monica Gumber
23. A book that is published in 2016 Tales Of Sunshine – Sundari Venkatraman
24. A book with a protagonist that has your occupation Frindle – Andrew Clements
25. A book that takes place during summer Seducing Summer – Serenity Woods
26. A book and its prequel No Place Like OZ and Dorothy Must Die – Danielle Paige
27. A murder mystery Love on The Rocks- Murder On The High Seas – Ismita Tandon Dhankher
28. A book written by a comedian Unladylike – Radhika Vaz
29. A dystopian novel Maze Runner- Parody – The Dazed Runner – The Parady Brothers
30. A book with a blue cover All Aboard – Kiran Manral
31. A book of poetry Kidnapping Time in 88 Seconds – Laura Patricia Kearney
32. The first book you see in a bookstore Sidney Sheldon’s Reckless (Tracy Whitney #3) – Tilly Bagshawe
33. A classic from the 20th century Right Ho, Jeeves – PG Wodehouse
34. A book from the library On Love and Sex – Khushwant Singh
35. An autobiography Cracking the Code- My Journey in Bollywood – Ayushmann Khurrana, Tahira Kashyap
36. A book about a road trip Hot Tea Across India – Rishad Saam Mehta
37. A book about a culture you’re unfamiliar with Princess –  Jean Sasson
38. A satirical book Shopping at Tesco – Sarah Ryle
39. A book that takes place on an island A Midsummer’s Equation – Keigo Higashino
40. A book that’s guaranteed to bring you joy Alice In Wonderland – Lewis Carroll

While I am glad that I was able to read for all the prompts for this Pop Sugar Reading Challenge, there are a few gaps. For instance, I realized just now that I had marked Cinder under two prompts in my excel sheet. Wish I had looked at this lapse a bit earlier. Also, She Walks, She Leads by Gunjan Jain had 584 pages, so I missed the 600 mark by 16 pages. I had planned to read (re-read actually) Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell for the prompt ‘a book that’s more than 600 pages’, but then I just didn’t had the time towards the end.

From this challenge, I realized that dystopian novels are not my cup of tea, for I started and abandoned 3 dystopian novels and finally settled for a short one ‘The Dazed Runner’ in this category. 

4. New Authors Challenge : As part of this challenge, I had to read 20 New authors. The guideline was that the authors must be new to you and, preferably from novels. Given below are the 20 New Authors I read for this challenge.

20 New AuthorsYou are the best wife - Ajay K PandeyThe Other End of the Corridor - Sujata rajpalThe Dance with the Corporate Ton - Lata SubramanianFalse Ceilings - Amit SharmaThe Not People - SonaraThe Story of a Sui

5.  2016 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge : 2015-Outdo-Yourself-Reading-ChallengeThis was hosted by the lovely and inspiring Corinne.

This challenge had 4 levels :

  • Getting My Heart Rate Up: read 1–5 more books (or 250–1,499 more pages)
  • Out of Breath: read 6–10 more books (or 1,500–2,749 more pages)
  • Breaking a Sweat: read 11–15 more books (or 2,750–3,999 more pages)
  • I’m on Fire!: read 16+ more books (or 4,000+ more pages)

And no marks for guessing that I was on Fire for this one!

6. Audiobook Challenge 2016 : I wanted to explore audio books and challenged myself to check out 5 audio books last year and I heard 6.

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It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end. I had super fun reading books for all these challenges. I loved the whole process of planning and looking for books, their reviews and then buying them too. I maintained my reading progress in an excel sheet and reviewing it from time to time inspired me and pushed me to go for the finish line. While I read with a leisurely pace all through the year, the months of November and December saw a peak in my reading life. I read nearly one book a day and sometimes even two. That I was in Kuwait during Nov-Dec and had a lot of free time after work (no household chores and cooking) made this reading spree possible. Achieving my reading goals of 2016 has made me happy like a kid in a candy store, I mean a book store!!

My last year reading journey has re-defined my reading habits. The scales have tipped in favor of Kindle books. Yes, now I don’t want to read anything that is not on my Kindle. Audio books have got my acceptance too and the physical books are last on my preference list. This is a shocking realization even to me for I took a long time to warm up to Kindle books. Aah! The winds of change!!

Well, that was my last year in books. How was yours?

5 Hobbies I Love

I gave out an appreciative whistle when I I read this thought shared by Stan Jacobs. He wrote that to be happy in life, develop at least four hobbies:

  • one to bring you money,
  • one to keep you healthy,
  • one to bring you joy, and
  • one to bring you peace.

I quite like this thought and this made me relook at my hobbies. I pondered over my passions and wondered if they fit the bill of these 4 categories of hobbies.

And I must say that my hobbies which I pursue do fall in these 4 categories. Let me elaborate…

Hobby that Brings Me Money

Baking : I never thought that what would start as ticking off something from the bucket list would actually become a passion for me and would eventually bring in money for me. Yes, I started baking some 2 years ago as I wanted to learn something new. After a lot of trials and failures, I got the art and science of baking right. I so loved baking that you can find a cake at our home all points of time and my gifts for family and friends on various occasions were home baked cakes. This made my friends and their friends asking for cakes baked by me. I wouldnt have thought of it, but a friend pushed me to stop baking for charity and thus baking became a hobby that brings me money. Of course, it’s on a very small level but I know that it has the potential to become big.

Hobby that Keeps Me Healthy

Swimming : This is the only form of exercise I LOVE truly, madly and deeply.  I wish I could pursue it not just for a few months of the summer season but all year through.

Word Games and Puzzles : A few free minutes anywhere and I am on my phone racing against the timer to form words and solve puzzles. I like challenging myself and I believe these games truly stimulate and energise my mind.

Hobby that Brings Me Joy

Reading : I have a passionate love affair with books and nothing makes me happier than to live several lives while reading. I like it when I can lose all sense of time, all worries and stress of life, if only for short time, when reading a good book.

Reading

Hobby that Brings Me Peace

Listening to Music : Music is the language of the spirit. It opens the secret of life bringing peace, abolishing strife – Khalil Gibran. And that is why I love to begin and end my day with music. I am not a big fan of FM radio because the senseless chatter of the RJs and the endless advertisements test my patience. But of late, I am listening to Mirchi Love at 104 which plays only love songs. They play best love songs and that too without ads.

What are your hobbies? Do they fall in these 4 categories? Do share!

Linking this to #FridayReflections and

NaBloPoMo_Badge_2016

10 Reasons to Love Audiobooks

Ten on Tuesdays

As part of my this year’s Book Reading Challenge, I decided to go for the Audiobook Challenge 2016.  Audiobooks, as you know is a digitally recorded version of the printed paper book being read out aloud by a narrator. I dabbled into this format of book ‘reading’ earlier this year and I quite liked the experience.

Here are ten reasons to love audiobooks and why  you should listen to audiobooks…Audiobooks

  1. Listening while engaged in another activity : Audiobooks can be listened to while folding laundry, cleaning, cooking, gardening, traveling or just plain lounging… I am sure you can think of even more occasions and places when audiobooks can be enjoyed. Ok, it didn’t work for me while eating, because I missed a few words amidst the crunch of the salad.
  2. More time to ‘read’ : A crowded place may be a bit distractive to read a paper-book or eBook, but it is easier to listen to an audiobook even in a noisy place. Also you can listen to an audiobook when there’s no light or it’s lights out time. And you can listen to an audiobook when you don’t want to strain your eyes. So, you have more time for ‘reading books’.
  3. Convenience : Audiobooks are really convenient. You can have them on your phone, iPod, computer/laptop or tablet. Just like eBooks, the audio version is easy to  sync on multiple devices.
  4. Better listening skills : “I remind myself every morning : Nothing I say this day will teach me anything. So if I am going to learn, I must do it by listening. – Larry King” Audiobooks help in learning to listen and concentrate on verbal messages as you hear every little detail in audiobook. Listening to audiobooks makes you a better listener!
  5. Accents  and pronunciation : Listening to audiobooks makes you familiar with accents and pronunciation of words. I liked comparing the American  way of saying words to that of the British. Offhand I remember pondering over these words… civilization, harassment, example, can’t, mobile etc.
  6. Storytelling : You can listen to sample of an audiobook before buying and that introduced me to the style of narrator. I realized that a narrator actually sets the tone of the book and makes the story come to life. This made me aware of the art of storytelling. As listeners, you  hear the variations in the tone, different voices for different characters and actually think of the characters speaking to you. And all this makes the experience more vivid for the listener. Also, a voice communicates more than reading the words in the book and the best example of that is sarcasm and humor!
  7. Great way to fall asleep : I listen to audiobooks before going to bed and I found that it help me fall asleep better. Yeah, no kidding!
  8. Speed of ‘Reading” :  It doesn’t take as long to listen to a book as it would to read it. Yes, you listen to a book much faster than reading one. Additionally the feature to increase the speed at which the narration is read, allows you to cut down the reading time of a 2 hour book to 1 hour!
  9. Better medium to read certain genres/ books : Books with concepts or autobiographies or books which have great content but hard to read, make for good listening. I listened to Seriously… I’m Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres which has life lessons narrated by Ellen herself. I think, I found the book more interesting while listening to it because I am sure that some of the jokes shared in the book would not have translated well on paper.
  10. Greener option : Audio books help you to go green. Yes, you save trees when you choose audiobooks.

I am still a big fan of paper books though the scales are tilting towards eBooks now, but I find that audiobooks are a great addition to my reading life!

Have you ever tried audiobooks? What’s your take on this?

Linking this to…

NaBloPoMo_Badge_2016

Books #CherishedBlogfest #CBF16

I don’t exactly know when my love affair with books and reading began. Since childhood, I have been hooked to the magical worlds the books created in my head.

During the earlier growing up years, we never bought books (fiction books, I mean) and borrowing them from libraries was the only option. May be buying books was not in vogue then or they were simply unaffordable. And did I devour the books from the libraries at the school, college and club house in our colony?

Master of the GameI remember, the first book that I bought from a book stall at Kota railway station. That was the year 1988. I was leaving for a trip to Mumbai with family and friends and instead of buying the regular comic books, I opted for a novel. It was Sidney Sheldon’s Master of the Game. I still have this book with me.

And since then, there’s no looking back. I have more than 500 books in my library cupboard and I heart them to bits. This 6 feet tall cupboard with 12 shelves is packed with books. There is absolutely no space to add more books and I am seriously looking for a new cupboard to find a new home for my new companions. 

Library CupboardDSC_0733

That’s the Then and Now (2013 and 2016) state of my Library Cupboard

My relationship with books has undergone a lot of changes over the years. When e-books made their entry in our book world, I stuck to my old love, the physical books. Yes, I believed that there is something beautiful about owning a physical book, holding it in your hands, feeling the paper in between your fingers while turning the pages…

But then, I had to read and review a book of a fellow blogger friend and e-book version of it was sent to me. Grudgingly, I downloaded the Kindle app on my phone and read Siren Spells Danger. I simply loved the experience and I got hooked to the e-reader. Later, I won Kindle in a contest and my joy knew no bounds. I have more than 150 books in my Kindle and buying e-books on Amazon is my favourite pass time.

And recently, I came across Audible, an Amazon company which is producer and retailer of Ellen DeGeneres Seriously...I'm Kiddingaudio books. I am currently listening to Ellen DeGeneres in her book Seriously…I’m Kidding and I am loving it!

Earlier, I would read one book at a time. But today, I read 5-6 books at different points of time in a day. I read physical books and Kindle books anytime, audio book when I am doing my evening walk, Kindle app on my phone when I am on the go and reading in bed at night.

A few days ago, I had a free day in between the workshops. I read from 7 in the morning till late evening with venturing out of my room at the hotel only for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Aah! What a blissful day it was. Doing nothing and just reading and reading… I wish, I have more such days!!

I am fiercely possessive about my books and lend only when I have drilled sufficiently my T&Cs of lending books into the borrower’s head. They are my prized possessions, my cherished objects.

Do you read as many books as you’d like to? What is your Cherished Object?

Are you participating in the #CherishedBlogfest?

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Reading Books is Similar to Human Relationships

Recently, I was reading a book. Raakshas by Piyush Jha to be precise. It’s a thriller and is a story of India’s No. 1 serial killer. It’s about how and what made him a cold blooded, savage murderer and a serial killer at that. The story started with a bang and I was hooked to it from the word go. I read more than half of this book at one go and then I suddenly closed it.

No, I was neither bored nor tired. I had all the time in the world to read the book and yet I stopped reading it. The thing was that the book was taking me to new heights of reading pleasure and I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to prolong this excitement and happiness. 

And when I did pick it up again after a lot of delaying tactics and finished reading it, I felt as if I was having a heartbreak. I was sad that the story could not go on and on and that it had come to an end. It was like I was mourning the end of good book. Has this ever happened to you?

Have you realized that reading a book is like entering into a relationship with a book. And it’s similar to the relationships we have with people around us.

Here are the four different types of relationships I have had with books which are similar to human relationships.

You Had Me At ‘Hello’ : You see the cover of the book and you know that it will click with you. You read the blurb and the flirting begins and as you start reading the first few chapters, meet the characters, you are in midst of a whirlwind romance and with each turning page you fall in love deeply, in the most all-consuming way. I had this love at first sight with Zoya Factor by Anuja Chauhan, Master of the Game by Sidney Sheldon, Marley & Me by John Grogan….

And The Spark Fades : The story in the book starts with a bang. There’s excitement and thrill with turning of each page, each chapter. And when you are moving on to build a deeper connect with the story, something goes awry and it’s all downhill from there. The relationship changes from intense to bland and that magical spark just fizzles away. You feel so deflated and exhausted and a bit cheated too, for you invested your time in reading this book and it leaves you unfulfilled. I have a long list of books that fall in this category.

The Accidental Relationship : It was just a coincidence that you picked that book. It’s not the genre that you read or not an author you have read before and it is just by chance you find yourself leafing through this book. And the next thing you know is that you are enjoying reading it and can’t stop yourself from reading it at every available opportunity. I had this relationship with a non-fiction book which is not my favorite genre of books. I picked up F?@k Knows by Shailendra Singh on a whim and I simply loved reading it.

The Slow To Warm-Up : You have this book in your hand and you start reading it. It does not excite or enthrall you much, but you keep reading it. And that’s because you are not a quitter or the book came with high recommendations or you are just stuck with that book. And then suddenly you are sucked deep into it and how! The book becomes simply unputdownable and  it stays with you for a long time. This happened when I started reading Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling. I picked it up because everyone was reading it and felt that the wizards and kids were not my scene. But after the first few chapters, well… there was no looking back.

Like human relationships, the relationships with books are good as well as bad, but whatever it is, it’s a learning and growing experience as a reader! What say you?

With which books you have had these kind of relationships?

What Did I Do?

Ten on Tuesdays

It has struck again!

But did it ever go?

The thoughts, words, fingers are all in freeze mode.  The blank page continues to stare nonchalantly. I have lost the count of ideas and drafts that have been killed in my head and on the laptop screen. Hectic work schedule, Aaryan’s holidays and the desire to spend as much time as possible with him and then the mad rush of shopping and packing bags as he had to leave for his boarding school were some of the reasons I gave to myself for this so called writer’s block, till a few days ago.

But now that the work is happening at a relaxed pace and Aaryan is back at his school and KG being busy with his work, I have all the time in the world to catch up on blogging. But did that happen? Well, NO!! The more I tried, the more I failed to write.

So, what did I do these past few days, that is apart from fretting, fuming, pulling my hair and staring blankly at the blank screen… Well…

  1. Read almost all my old blog posts. I read all the personal posts and did a time travel and smiled and shed a tear or two on the memories that surfaced from the dark recesses of the mind. I read all the 55 Fiction and Drabbles and I have written 200 of them. I had once written a 55 fiction in 10 minutes, so I thought that I might be inspired to give a repeat performance but nothing of that sort happened. And reading all the old posts filled me with self doubt and wondered how have I written 1100+ posts till now! *SIGH*
  2. Read books. Yesterday was a good day as I read 3.5 books.  I finished reading Rogue23492688 Lawyer by John Grisham, started and finished reading Short Stories with a Twist by Destination Infinity, fellow blogger and friend.  And then spent the whole afternoon smiling and laughing out loud with Varun Agarwal as he shared ‘How I Braved Anu Aunty & Co-Founded a Million Dollar Company’.  Later in the evening, Kunal Nayyar regaled me with his stories in Yes, My Accent is Real. I am happy to say that I am on target of reading 150 books this year… so far! Touch wood!
  3. Washed. Yes, I washed every piece of clothing in sight, so much so that for three days our home looked like a Dhobhi Ghaat. There were clothes all around in various stages of drying. I know, I am clearly unstable and this OCD for washing and cleanliness is growing unabated. KG wanted to give me exasperated looks but chose to calmly say, “Go slow, Shilpa, you will tire yourself”.  Aah, nearly two decades of marriage (we completed of 19 years of marital bliss tolerance, last week!) brings all this wisdom, I guess.
  4. Slept! I usually sleep for 15-20 minutes in the afternoons, but last week, I surprised myself and slept for long hours. My body needed the rest, I reasoned with myself. And then I read somewhere that people who sleep for long hours are sad. Sad?! Me?! I didn’t believe that. But then that was based on research, so I pondered over it and realized that I was/am sad! Sad since Aaryan is not around and sad/anxious that I am struggling to write… 
  5. Took silly quizzes on Facebook and got to know that I am 60% Left brain inclined and 40% right brained or that my personality type is Quirky Free-Spirit! *Rolls Eyes*
  6. Listened to songs and watched TV. I don’t (almost never) watch TV alone. bbtBut I did it last week and I realized that watching The Impractical Jokers, F.R.I.E.N.D.S and The Big Bang Theory without Aaryan is no fun. I missed our laughter together. And somehow Food and Travel Shows don’t look so interesting without KG.
  7. Tried to make sense of the political scenario in the country. Politics does not interest me at all. I made an attempt to read about the JNU row, Jat agitation etc and just gave up. Does that make me anti-national?
  8. Playing Word Games and solving puzzles on phone. I am getting nearly addicted to Lexiquo, a word puzzle and another game Blocked In is keeping me busy too.
  9. Chatted with a few friends. If I don’t see some friends around Facebook, Whatsapp for a while, I get these mild anxiety attacks. I don’t know what this is with me. I have to get in touch with them and check if all’s ok with them.
  10. Just lazed around and did nothing for long hours. And I quite liked doing that!!

This is what I did last week while struggling with writer’s block. Actually, there is no such thing as writer’s block. More about it, some other time. What did you do last week?

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