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In the pursuit of hope

to unroll the positive vibes

SINCE YOU’VE BEEN GONE

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I’ve been into contemporary for a while now. So, it’s blatant to bump across Morgan Matson’s writing at some point. I’ve picked up Since you’ve been gone of hers and what ensued next awaits your read.

A concoction of an introvert and an extrovert never gets old. Emily, a shy introvert’s world is left upheaval when her only best friend, Sloane leaves sans a note. Realizing the cruel reality of having to spend the whole summer on her own exacerbates her situation until the day when Emily finally receives a letter from Sloane with a list of all the things Emily should be doing that summer. Things like:

  • Apple picking at night
  • Dance until dawn
  • Kiss a stranger

A to-do list comprising of thirteen tasks few doable, few which Emily would never dream of doing in her wildest dreams is all that she has of her friend now. Hopeful that checking these things off might leave a clue leading to Sloane’s whereabouts Emily finally gets her feet wet trying to wade her way through the social world.

There is no denying in having to face the harsh reality of life when someone we cherish the most abandons us. Regardless of the reasons, steering ourselves through the hurdles of the void remains cardinal. A little help or a friendly hand during those hours of need would make all the difference. Frank Porter is that walking stick in here helping Emily through the bedlam during the tempest of her loneliness. Progression of their bond through music and running is something worth rooting for.

A well thought out work as this could hardly be disappointing. In spite of its slow progression the degree of relativity any introvert could find in here is profuse. Albeit, kicking off shy Emily over the course of the novel definitely does strike as a teen with mettle. It would be hard not to catch your own glimpse as she slogs out of her comfort zone.

On a final note, life in its own sense is a true pedagogy thrusting both the bitter sweet situations for us to deal with. Hitting a rough patch is not uncommon but what we make out of such situations will always be a worthy page turner. Though I have a developed a mild distaste towards slow paced books I can let it slide it for the radiant journey this novel has got to offer. Because there is no denying when I say, Since you’ve been gone does resonate with everyone at some level.

Rating: 4/5

 

 

 

 

 

WONDER


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Anomaly is negative. Different has never been welcomed well. Let us embrace this fact of the world we live in. As simple as a new hairstyle is enough to drive us all antsy to show up in our daily ambiance owing to the avalanche of criticism awaiting us, even if it is meant only for a day. Then what are the odds of a deviant one with long term deformations to make it without falling apart?

August Pullman, a ten year old with facial abnormalities is about to start middle school for the first time after being home schooled all his life. Petrified, he finally enters the real world amalgamated with pure and evil. He is no exception but falls prey to all the bullying, substandard and double standards of his peers.

What makes this novel with this cliché bottom line an exceptional must read for everyone is the novelty it offers encompassing all the human attributes through its innocent characters. Readers keep swaying among the profound emotions of friendship, loyalty, bullying, kindness and parenting sans their conscious which adds to the beauty of the book.

Every character has got its own spunk worth reading about. The fortitude with which Auggie rolls up to make lite of his situation by embracing the fact of his outlook is laudable. It seems surreal at times to see kids so young with such astuteness. My second favorite character is Mr. Tushman, the principal. He is that rare personality who defends good through all times, the one who takes stand for his beliefs irrespective of the negative cult and can see the other side of the coin without actually flipping it. He is quite a wonder himself. Out of the pool of the best quotes this journey of Wonder has got to offer I would like to mention one note that moved me to the core:

He is the greatest whose strength carries up the most hearts by the attraction of his own.

It would be really biased to talk about the protagonist and leave alone the sidekicks because take my word for it, they had me grab for more tissues when I was least expecting it. Even the brutally annoying juvenile has got a heart wrenching story to share here.

Words are beautiful but its true merit is not realized till it moves you to your core. When these words aligned with the scintillating characters take the values of humanity above and beyond your physical entity then that is all it takes to open your eyes to all the wonders around you. An uplifting story with the deepest reflections of human acts is meticulously executed through R.J Palacio’s Wonder which does everything in its power to turn on the faucet which is mostly happy waterworks.

I was lucky enough to have watched the movie before publishing this review and let’s just  say that you will be left satiated enough to go for the next show. The World is a better place with characters and books like this. I beg to differ; The World is the best place with these noble and pure characters making me yearn to read more.

If only reading can be assessed through other parameters, this is one of the purest reads of my life. Hands down, Wonder will leave a significant imprint on the hearts of all of its readers by making this world a kinder place with its very own presence.

Rating: 5/5

 

 

 

THEY BOTH DIE AT THE END

Image result for they both die at the end coverThe truth comes punching in the gut when mortality questions the immortal life we tend to live taking every tomorrow for granted. When all the wasted opportunities strike with the glass shattering boom, when ignorance got the better of expressing our feelings and procrastination won the battles of task accomplishments swamp at once that is when we start questioning our living? This new novel of Adam Silvera is definitely a worthy remainder to be grateful for the life we are bestowed with and to go out there and actually start living because as he says life’s value is only known when we are short of our tomorrows.

In a world where people receive calls from Death Cast, an organization to break the news of your imminent death which is bound to happen any time within the span of next twenty four hours, we meet two variant personalities; Mateo and Rufus. With proclivities and disposition poles apart, these characters have got their own stories to share and one final day to live.

Mateo, eighteen year old, deeply surrounded in his own fears is far from living his life when he finally receives a call from Death Cast which thrusts all his unlived life in front of him for introspection. Rufus, on the other hand is whimsical and dealing with his own demons of surviving a tragedy which took up his entire family. These two are on complete different pages when they receive the bleak call from Death Cast. To right the wrongs and to not feel lonely on their final day, they meet each other in search of a companion though an app named Last Friend and set out on one final journey.

An amicable story with a plot line unlike any others is offered by this book. One final journey of two individuals struggling with their pasts, desperate to make moments and trying to make every second count before what all life left is taken away from them is something out of the box to read. On top of that, this is the first book I read with protagonists not being straight. I have always evaded reading these subjects not because I am against them but I just assumed I would not be comfortable reading them.  Frivolousness of my discomfort is revealed with this read because hands down, this book made want to read more diverse characters because I was really rooting for these guys. There were substantial moments I was brimming with joy for the way their relationship kicks off from being strangers to burgeoning into neat compassionate friendship. I loved Mateo and Rufus lot more than I expected myself to. One for being shy, something I could relate to and other for being brave someone whose amusing company I would enjoy the most.

The book also gives a peek into the other character’s perspective who are neither the side kicks nor the protagonists but more of some random people we bump into from time to time in the novel. It sheds light on how intertwined are the stories of one person with the other. In the beginning it seems like none of these strangers matter but as the story goes by and the connection is explicit in front of your eyes it seems surreal to know the impact each person has on the others life.

The selfless acts done not to gain the favor of others or to elevate in the echelons of humanity but for our own satisfaction and peace is beautifully delineated. The author’s execution of the concept of karma does not go unnoticeable. All those times when things might seem obscure and bizarre but as time passes and eventually everything falls into place it is seen how karma works. Forget about karma, your deeds and acts of kindness will definitely not go unseen and will save you. Sometimes it could make a real difference when you are one step away from death and that particular moment is when it really counts. At least that is what I learnt out of this.

This is the first book of Adam Silvera I got to read and I was not disappointed at all. I expected to go all emotional and mushy drowned in the puddle of my own tears but it did not go there. I had few moments in there which had me moved but no so much as a break down. Nevertheless, it is quite a satisfactory read the novelty of which leaves a lasting imprint on your bookshelf and of course on you too.

Rating: 4/5

THE HEROES OF OLYMPUS: THE LOST HERO

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If there is only one series I could compare with The Harry Potter that would be Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series. This could be the highest echelon of juxtaposition.  Though the plots are poles apart the analogy lies in the enthralling adventure which keeps the reader on the edge. And take my word for it, if you are a fantasy geek and an adventure seeker you ought to read these series. If you haven’t read, then you haven’t lived.

Coming to the Heroes of Olympus, it is a spin off series of the Percy Jackson which does nothing less to take your expectations up a notch. Welcome back to Camp Half Blood and a world filled with magic, demigods, satyrs, centaurs, giants and mind-boggling prophecies.

Diving into the plot, Jason wakes up on the back of a bus with no memory of who he is and where he is headed. Leo and Piper, his seemingly best friend and girlfriend give him a crash course to help him reminisce about their beatific times but soon they realize their memories are altered. Three demigods embark on a precarious journey to meet their destiny and soon the truth dawns on them that there is lot more at stake than their own lives. On the other hand, Percy Jackson goes missing around the same time Jason appears at Camp Half Blood (Place where demigods are trained). Though it seems petite it should suffice to get into the series because the course of action the plot takes from here is quite gripping. As the story goes by and the fog gets cleared there are revelations leading to more mystery, vying with ground breaking adventure.

When the Greek world clashes with the Roman side, the amalgam stirs up quite an unprecedented war and that is where Heroes of Olympus sets in. Adventure bumps into adrenaline in this concoction of fun where each chapter engenders goosebumps and sweeps you right off your feet. By this point it should come as no surprise that each of Rick Riordan’s books end in a cliff hanger and it does everything in its power to leave readers on the edge if they don’t get their hands on the sequel. I guess that is his blatant rite of passage.

The roller coaster of emotions he elicits through his writing covers it all up. There is engrossing mystery swamped with adventure, humor, action and teeny romance.  His flair at changing the course of action is indeed quite remarkable because one moment I was at my wits end and next moment bam! I was laughing boisterously. I wonder if his brain exudes adventure like plants giving out oxygen as Rick Riordan always brings something new to the table. Living in the imagination of his prolific writing is quite blissful. And believe me, it is worth the read.

Rating: 5/5

 

LITTLE THINGS

Time and Tide wait for none. It is true. Clock is ticking, seasons are changing with every second of our lives spent. Seconds become minutes, minutes become hours, hours to years and one day… poof! Life meets its end.

I see people striving hard, vying to land up in the roles they desire by abandoning the little pleasures of life. But since when did life proclaim to bestow only those who let go of the smallest of the small pleasures. May be the big picture of life is scary which calls in for our utmost determination and perseverance but giving up on the simple pleasures does not make it any easier. Life is all about ‘Little things.’

If only we could take a second to notice the scintillating beauty life tends to offer us we could muster up nothing less than true magic. No matter how scant things seem, they do matter. From telling your mom how great the lunch is, thanking the driver for dropping you safely, cracking a jest to make light of a situation, seeing the Sun rise, watching a movie, treating yourself, offering compliments to the chef for making our tummies happy with their splendor meal, riding a bicycle, hanging out with those childhood friends who remember us including our birthdays while we are still banging our heads to remember their faces et cetera. Let us embrace the gift of life we are blessed with. Being too caught up with the beautiful prospects of future only impedes us from living in the present. I say, let us be alive to each and every moment and justify the present. I’m sure the future will take care of itself.

Speaking of which, life is not only about personal things. It has got professional front to manage up too. Work hard, have an ambition, take small steps every day to paint yourself in a good picture worthy enough to land you where you aspire to see yourself down the road. Managing this hodgepodge of personal and professional life is what makes us the true master of this chariot of life we drive. But don’t get too carried away by the big picture that you forget about the every pixel that makes it whole. Because no matter how big the picture is, every pixel counts.

I take no position of a preacher. Just a little remainder to unlock the happiness we seek but too swamped with our work that we fetter ourselves from finding the key. Acknowledge the little things in life. Don’t let the pressure and struggle keep you from living. In this Game of Life, there are no second chances. So, live a life, leave a legacy but don’t just merely exist to be gone with the wind. Be alive to every breath you take, persevere but do not let the tribulations shackle you from little things that imbue our hearts with jubilation. Because none of us know when it’s going to be our last breath but while we still have time let’s make it count. To all the unlived life, here I come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ONE YEAR OF BLOGGING

If you would’ve asked me what Blogging means to me a year ago I wouldn’t have had an exact idea. Blogging is something I’ve started to give a better direction to my passion as a reader and aspiration as a writer. I’ve been down this road for one year now and it has gone way past a hobby to hone my artistic skills to an act of solace I pine to do all day. It’s hackneyed that time flies by when spent on things we thrive on. I reckon that’s why I checked my notification twice to ensure it has actually been a year.

On this propitious occasion I would like to share my journey of blogging so far and how it all started. Being an introvert it’s blatant that I was more than skeptical to start a blog. The inundation of demons of having to face criticism kept me stalling for days. But neither could I make peace with the not writing part. Then I realized, ‘Where isn’t criticism?’ It is present in all walks of life. Criticism is indeed the darkness essential to know how bright we shine. Thus, I finally decided to act against negativity and made my way into the blogging arena.

From the very beginning itself I got to meet incredible and munificent people in blogging community. Knowing there are really good and supportive people out there was all the assurance I needed back then to assuage my fears and continue the journey. Days passed and the number of posts made started to increase so did the followers, views and bam, it has already been a year. I would like to thank all of my followers and those I follow, had it not been for your largess this blogging wouldn’t have been a fortunate serendipity.

Moving on to the inadvertent perks of blogging, what could be a better boon to a bibliophile than bumping into an entire community of book bloggers? Here I get to read great reviews, blurbs, thoughts and opinions not only about books and movies but also pertaining to diverse aspects of life. The panache of each blogger leaves me awestruck providing a better insight. I find the need to lionize the blogging community for helping me evolve as a better person. Thanks to all the bloggers for making WordPress such a special place for me. I never felt more welcome. Your constant support in all forms inspires me to give my best to this blog. Having said it all, it would only be germane to end it as thus, “ WordPress is my  home.

 

 

 

THOUGHTS OF A YOUNGER SIBLING

Elder siblings are the company we never asked for but always blessed to have. From the time we were born we share our space, clothing, food, troubles, happiness and what not with them. I still remember those days when I was whining and throwing tantrums to avoid school when my sister came around assuring me that school is not that bad after all. The days when she came to check on me during recess, introduced me to her friends, the way she held onto my hand while crossing the road and never once trusted me to be old enough to cross on my own, saved a seat for me on our way home and the assurance given to go to her if anything goes wrong cannot be forgotten.  Elder ones know what we love and hate the most giving them leverage to access our mood swings in a snap. They bring out the best and the worst of us. Albeit being a younger one comes with its own privileges of circumventing things with an acceptance from parents we’ve never realized how pitch perfectly our elder ones have taken responsibilities and  lived to set up a role model for us. They’ve given us someone to look up to.

 

While we are lost in this beautiful oblivion we tend to forget that inexorable moment when we part. It might be for a while or forever but it seems like lost in a whirlwind seeing all those happy times turn into memories. There is an inexplicable void without any substitute to fill in. But as time passes and things slowly tend to fall back to place, all that emotional turmoil is construed. We might not have gone hand in hand with them all the time but we knew when things go wrong they’ve always got our back. All those flaring tempers, winsome acts and quotidian concerns have in fact strengthened our love for one another. We share a bond that runs deeper than any roots of love and distance is the only reminder of the love we never acknowledged being together. Elder siblings are the boons who make our life worth living.

I personally would like to dedicate this article to my sister had it not been for her I wouldn’t have started this blog let alone write this article. Thank you for supporting my aspirations.

 

 “If this world were an audience you’ve always been my platform to reach out to them. Accompanied me through this tempest of life especially when things seemed forlorn, you’ve cast your light of hope upon me and brought me into the shadows of your jubilance. And if I were sad when you were gone it gives me all the more reason to call you the reason of my happiness.”

 

 

 

 

SPARE TIME

The ubiquity of electronic gadgets always had its way of surprising humans with its handy functionality. I think it would be cliché to say that our mortal and mobile lives are entwined seeing that we always had been at a better receiving end. Starting from voice recognition alarms at dawn to bed time lullabies, these gadgets have made our life facile to an extent where they have become a part and parcel of our life. I’m grateful for all these advancements which are providing remarkable platforms to bring the ace out of us. Hours of time spent on calculation, physical exertions to reach a destination, waiting for a ride etc. are long gone. Most of the grueling questions have been answered to giving us a substantial amount of spare time to meet out our other needs.

But people these days would rather spend their spare time poking others, going on with their trivial chats than making their nearly extinct hobbies extant.  Nothing disheartens me more than seeing a talent being wasted and spare time mistook for boredom.  I see people dwelling in the procrastination of laziness while the thought of favorite past time activity is no longer heard of.  Sometimes to understand ourselves better and to explore our true desires, it’s better to take a step back and look into the time when we used to long for holidays, make a to-do list, nurture our budding talent and sometimes even turn it into an endeavor. To relish all those relinquished hobbies, I would like to mention few things we could do in our spare time.

  • Art it out: All those colorful thoughts and dancing designs screaming for attention do deserve a chance. Be it painting, doodling, drawing, illusions anything. That little Picasso at the back of the mind is worth our time. All we need to do is pick up a brush.
  • Take up a course: No matter how busy we all are, there is always something we yearn to learn and excel at. Nothing falls into the frivolous alley when our heart’s into it. It could be a foreign language we wanted to learn (French, Spanish etc.), taking up those drum lessons, fiction writing or any professional course as in C, Java etc. If there is something I’ve learnt, knowledge never goes in vain. There always comes a point in life when it is let out one way or another.
  • Redecorate your room: No matter where ever we go, at the end of the day it’s always our room which happens to be our coziest corner of the world despite its total mess. Making small changes in it could make all the difference in the world like plastering walls with different colors, adding new posters of our favorite celebrities, rearranging the bookshelf (my personal favorite) and there are plenty DIY ways to do it.
  • Try a recipe: Though I’m completely declined towards the ancient art of cooking, no one could appreciate it more than me. The true magic is when I see the raw vegetables and meat and even before I could contemplate my course of action towards it, voilà! There lies the best edible dish. Long live all the chefs in the world because you of all know the greatest mantra to make people happy.
  • Keep up with the trend: One of the notable things lost in the busy regimes are our eclectic senses. It is high time to bring out the elegance and treat ourselves with some shopping.
  • Concoction of fun: Spare time is the best time to keep ourselves abreast with all those TV series and movies which had been demanding our attention for a while now. Or start watching a new series, try beating your old game record (double thumbs up to the digital ultra-astounding gaming arenas), update yourself with all the latest releases of music albums, rummage through your closet and get lost in those old photographs and memories. It’s never too late for a reunion, albeit a small one.
  • Read a book: Being an avid reader I think it is an obvious and trite suggestion to make. All the book worms and wonks of this generation are great benefactors for being provided a glut of genres and book formats readily available at their fingertips. Personally, exploring the new releases and brushing up the old ones always had been the best thing to do since the sliced bread.

 

There are a plethora of things we could do if interested. I just mentioned a drop in the ocean of possibilities we could traverse.  A juxtaposition of life with and without gadgets and a sincere effort to spark the love for past time activities to see people burning in the inferno of their predilections is what this post is all intended for. To make best of our spare time.

FANGIRL

An encounter with an introvert is what Fangirl is all about. Cath and Wren are identical twins. They shared everything and have done everything together up until now. But now, they are about to set off to University and things change because Wren decides she doesn’t want to be a part of ‘We are the twin sisters’ thing anymore nor does she want to share room with Cath. Socially, Cath and Wren are poles apart. Wren is more like devil-may-care kind of person whereas Cath is a cynical, introvert who has to pluck up all her courage to just give an eye contact to a stranger let alone talk to one. She always had Wren to look after her and do the talking part. But now that she is on her own and has to face everything  by herself, her confidence has fallen down to few more notches. On the positive note, Cath is a dexterous writer of ‘Simon Snow’ series fan fiction which is similar to Harry Potter series. She supplants the real world with fantasy and does every possible thing she can to escape reality. This basically sums-up the book.

Fangirl is more like skimming through the life of an introvert. I personally didn’t enjoy reading this book. It is one of those overly hyped books which are a total let down. But there were also few aspects which pleased me. For starters, I found Cath’s quirky personality amusing. The heights she would go to avoid stepping out of her comfort zone and elude meeting people certainly humored me. There was a time when Cath was dubious about continuing her English major and her thoughts were, ‘If you study something that nobody cares about does that mean everyone will leave you alone?’ Wow! Seriously, there are no bounds to her misanthropic thoughts. I loved the zeal she holds for writing fan fiction while dwelling in the procrastination of her real life assignments.

As much as I liked the concept of fan fiction, there was way too much of it overshadowing the main plot leaving not much of a story for readers to go on. I could see the character development but it was too dull which made me feel more apathetic to carry on. After a careful contemplation, I say I enjoyed ‘Eleanor and Park’ more. Coming to Rainbow Rowell’s writing it is palpable to call it tremendous and if you have read any of her books you will know how they end and no one can see it coming. I guess that’s her flair.

I don’t intend to disregard anyone’s thoughts or views but this book is not the one I will be willing to pick up if had known better about it. As much as I don’t want to sound like a Negative Nancy, I am deflated after reading this book and it has definitely not lived up to my expectations.

Rating: 2/5

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