Book Review of Bollywood Invasion by Ricardo Alexanders

At once engaging and cleverly creative, Ricardo Alexanders' Bollywood Invasion enrapts readers with a fun and fantastical coming of age story, set in a well posed merging of reality and fiction which surpasses the reaches of time and continents.

Instantly the story draws you in, as initially, we meet John Palmieri living in modern times in Brooklyn; he's a nerd and Beatles lover in high school and unsatisfied with his lower middle class existence. Things start with him in the throes of a dream, once again being bested by his arch-enemy Frank Castellano. He loathes Frank, who seems to have so much more than John; smarter mouth, bigger house, more friends, better stuff, including, the attention of the girl he secretly loves -Samantha.

The real adventure begins when fate crashes into his life, via an accident, knocking John unconscious. When John awakes, he finds himself in a parallel existence, where he has been transported back in time to late 1950's, India. He wakes up as eighteen year old Raj Scindia, a prince in the Indian royal family. Naturally, he's initially confused by his sudden transportation to a completely foreign life and culture with many humorous moments ensuing as he tries to wrap his head around what has happened to him.

Meanwhile, as John acclimates to his new life, he realizes he suddenly has the life he has always dreamed of, a life which now includes money, wealth, eager women and extensive privileges. However, as well as being rich and privileged, the prince whose life John has taken over, also includes several unexpected issues such as being engaged to a young lady through pre-arranged marriage, having the reputation of being a spoiled, adulterous scamp, as well as being a second year student in a mechanical engineering college. Ultimately, deciding to make the best of his new circumstances, John plays his privileged new life to the hilt; he fakes being psychic and parties not really taking his new life too seriously until he meets the best friend of his promised fiance, Ankita and falls instantly head over heels for her which within his new culture gives rise to many issues. While looking for ways to win her over, John forays into the world of music by joining a local band and uses his extensive knowledge of Beatles songs to propel his group "The Beetos" to "Beatles" status making him and his group rock stars, thusly creating a parallel universe with the Bollywood version of the Beatles. Consequently, their new found fame comes with unexpected repercussions, as the story progresses with scenarios that parallel events that really happened with the famed Beatles.

Definitively, Bollywood Invasion proffers readers a compelling read that entertains the imagination with a unforgettable journey into adulthood. This was a winning combination with its twisted melding of Beatlemania, romance, drama, humor, fantasy elements, and intriguing characters, especially Raj / John who seems to a loosely posed reincarnation of John Lennon. This would make a worthwhile read for fans of fantasy or YA reads.

Advantages Of Reading Books Online

The online book reading is a great way to enhance and increase your knowledge in ‘zero time’ as with just a single click of your mouse, you can get what you want! Build a habit of reading from your laptop or iPhone to enjoy more online book reading.

The world is becoming more and more digital and you can grab all important stuff with just a hand movement or a simple mouse ‘click.’ The traditional method of learning gives way to fresh technology in recent decade or so. No doubt, the importance of paperback printed books is still there, but the newer digital technology revolutionized the reading and learning processes for common users. Let us see a few simple tips to learn online with just one click.

1. Search on Google with the keyword,’online libraries.’

2. Be sure to download PDFs software, usually acrobat or any other PDFs reader of your choice. Well, most of the online libraries offer PDFs format books for both downloading and reading online.

3. There is another option to read in ‘text’ as a Word document. However, I strongly recommend the PDFs format.

4. Once you download the book of your choice, you can also adjust the zoom settings in the PDFs reader.

5. Read as much as you can for as long as you wish!

6. Lastly, you must have the ultimate fun with this online digital book reading.

It is vital to know that plenty of websites are offering free online book reading. Try clicking as many links as you can. One other aspect is the extensive knowledge, which is shared online. You can find books in different languages and an option to read in your own language. For example, if there is a book in Russian, a classic masterpiece, you can easily convert it into your own language through online choice of language. Most probably, it will be found in English. Obviously, other languages are also there for a much thorough study.

The real fun lies in reading books freely. You have to pay nothing, no time wastage, just a click and your books are downloaded or you can read online. If you are using apple or android technology, you can easily add them or bookmark them in your bookshelf. The available books include Greek literature, English literature and of course World literature. There is another option for downloading academic books, study guides, assignments and other relevant study material. There are other search engines like Yahoo or Bing to try your luck as well, besides Google.

Worth Every Penny Book Review

As a business owner of a home-based photography studio, I find that constant education is vital to the continued growth of my business. There are a variety of forms of education for photographers and other business owners: conferences, classes, local meetings, or books being a few. Books are often one of the cheaper forms of education and I find a lot of great insights from books like Worth Every Penny.

Worth Every Penny is a business book written by both Sarah Petty and Erin Verbeck founder and chief of The Joy of Marketing. This book is targeted toward small business owners running boutique style businesses. While bigger businesses are focused on volume, boutique businesses are focused on experience and high-end, quality products. This book helps boutique business owners understand some of the keys necessary to running their boutique business.

Worth Every Penny gives great advice on how to build a strong brand to market to your ideal client base, which is crucial in a boutique business. It’s importance to convey luxury and a high-end experience to your current and feature client base. The book also discusses strategies for creating a strong marketing and advertising campaign to reflect this idea and what makes your business unique. It is always important to convey what makes your business different and more desirable than your competition.

A huge part of boutique businesses is building relationships. When you aren’t working with a high volume business, you have the time to invest in getting to know your clients. Worth Every Penny discusses ways to convey your appreciation to your customers and develop strong relationships with them, which can help grow your business.

And of course, with the extra time, value, and care dedicated to the customers of a boutique business, a higher price is often a necessity. Worth Every Penny discusses methods for pricing your products and adding additional value to your clients orders. After all, to be a viable business, you need to make a profit.

I personally found Sarah Petty & Erin Verbeck’s book, Worth Every Penny, to be incredibly beneficial and insightful in working on my own business. Determining my strengths and unique products, how to market them and provide my clients with the best care possible are incredibly important to me, and this book has helped me narrow down and hone these things. I would highly recommend this book to any boutique business – not just photography business owners!

Book Review – "The Dwarf" by Par Lagerkvist

Swedish author Pär Lagerkvist won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1951, partly on the strength of this funny, wicked, and remarkable masterpiece, originally published in 1944. The Dwarf catapulted Lagerkvist to international fame, but the book is now largely dwarfed (ahem) by his more famous novel, Barabbas. Still, this acerbic little gem deserves a place on the bookshelf of discriminating readers, beside such dark, disturbing, and unforgettable literature as Crime and Punishment and Notes from Underground.

The Dwarf tells the twisted tale of Piccoline, an evil dwarf serving a corrupt court during the Italian Wars of the late 15th and early 16th century. While the characters are fictional, they are nonetheless familiar. The prince was probably modeled on the real-life Renaissance prince and warlord Cesare Borgia, who figures prominently in Niccolo Machiavelli’s The Prince. Machiavelli based much of his theory of power politics on Cesare Borgia, and would have absolutely adored The Dwarf.

With razor-sharp prose, Lagerkvist tells us, through Piccoline’s diary entries, of a Renaissance Italian city-state (think Milan or Florence) under a long and brutal siege. War, plague, and famine bring out the worst in one of literature’s most wicked protagonists, a creepy misanthrope who loves nothing so much as violence and destruction. Because of his small stature, Piccoline believes that he is not human at all, but of another race. This allows him to coldly murder the enemies of his prince, and a personal enemy as well. The only emotions he knows are hatred, malice, and a thirst for vengeance. He’s a fascinating, funny, unlovable wretch. Readers of George R.R. Martin’s popular fantasy series A Song of Ice and Fire may recognize Piccoline as the literary ancestor of the dwarf antihero Tyrion Lannister.

Lovers of Italian Renaissance history will get a lot out of this wonderfully sordid tale. The period details are rich and authentic, if loosely fictionalized. The prince in the novel is part Cesare Borgia, part Ludovico Sforza. Both of these historical Italian princes employed the artist Leonardo da Vinci as a war engineer, and Leonardo is memorably represented in The Dwarf by the artist Maestro Bernardo, who is fascinated (as Leonardo was) with grotesques, and who asks the hideous dwarf to model for a sketch.

One interesting possibility is that the dwarf does not exist at all. The character could be read as the dark side of the prince himself, who in this interpretation would be a Jeckyll and Hyde character who dissociates himself from his worst thoughts and actions by becoming the dwarf. The author drops several hints that this may be the correct interpretation.

The Dwarf is a quick read. The prose is clean, the action sharp, the details riveting. There is a lot of dark humor here, based on the recognition of our own worst impulses. Piccoline is never redeemed, remaining amoral and unapologetic to the end. I recommend this novel both for pure entertainment and as a philosophical exploration of the evil nature within us all.

A Book Review: Journey Into God’s Word

I have just finished a fascinating read: ‘Journey Into God’s Word: your guide to understanding and applying the Bible’ by J. Scott Duvall and J. Daniel Hays, published by Zondervan in 2008. I bought this through an Internet based bookshop in preparation for a Theology course that I’m just embarking upon. It’s a slim volume packed with (for me) new ideas.

I’ve become familiar with a fair chunk of the Bible over my quarter-century as a Christian, but more as a casual friend than as a the family member that God wants us to be: it turns out that I’ve been skimming, picking and choosing, taking the low hanging fruit, and guilty of the down-sides that follow familiarity.

Duvall and Hays teach the reader to follow an ‘interpretive journey’ when studying the Bible, forensically examining God’s Word down to the individual written words. It’s quite a challenge! The authors propose a four point ‘journey’ into any passage (five in the New Testament) when interpreting any passage of scripture, taking into account the type of writing/literature that we’re looking at (for example: is it a piece of poetry, a letter, a narrative, a gospel?), as well as it’s historical and cultural context. First, what did the writing mean to the people to/for whom it was written?; next, recognise that there is a difference between those people and times and our own and try and establish what those differences are (the authors call this a ‘river’ of differences); thirdly, to cross the river use a ‘principlizing bridge’ – using the theological principle of the text, the thing about God that applies both sides of the river; and finally applying that principle to our own time and situation. In Old Testament study a fifth step is inserted after crossing the bridge – asking how the New Testament teaching might modify or qualify that of the Old.

The book can be used as a study guide, and is laced with group discussion questions and written exercises, encouraging the reader to apply the techniques being taught. I found the layout easy to follow, analysing the process of ‘careful reading’ from sentence structure (“Work hard! Dig deep! The feast awaits you!”) to the context of a particular passage within surrounding passages, chapter, book, Testament and Word. The authors talk about the different translations that are available, and the effect that that choice can have on our understanding (they suggest that one uses more than one ‘version’ when studying the Word, as well as suggesting the use of commentaries and handbooks/dictionaries along the ‘interpretive journey’.

The book focuses on ‘authorial intent’ rather than ‘reader response’ as the right approach to the Bible – the writer (God) determines what the Word means, not the reader (in which case we can make it say what we want to hear rather than what God is saying to us). With this in mind, the authors take us through a series of chapters outlining key parts of the Bible through the tool that is their suggested ‘interpretive journey’. We are encouraged to look at the New testament letters as windows into the ‘struggles and victories of the early church’ as well as being personal, instructional messages between friends and between shepherds and their flocks. When reading the gospels, we are told that we ‘must reflect on how to apply their message to our lives’. Jesus is the central figure throughout, as this book covers Acts and Revelation, and finishes with chapters covering the interpretation of the Law, Psalms and Prophets of the Old Testament.

I thoroughly enjoyed, and was really challenged by the approach outlined in this little book, and look forward to applying the principles as I embark on a formal course of theological study.

Book Review: A Dictionary Of Indian English Litterateurs: 1794-2010

Mahendra S. Rana (Comp. and ed.). Assisted by Rekha Rana. A Dictionary of Indian English Litterateurs: 1794-2010. 2 volumes. set. New Delhi: Sarup Books Publishers Pvt Ltd., 2012. Size-Crown. ISBN 978-81-7625-809-8 (Set). Pages Vol. I, 566+Appendix+23 and Vol. II, 573+Appendix+ 7, Price Rs.6500/- (Set).

M.S. Rana, an alumnus of the universities of Allahabad and Delhi, has been a distinguished librarian, who worked in the universities of Kurukshetra, Delhi, Meerut, and Roorkee with credit. The compilation of the 2-volume Dictionary under review bespeaks his editorial skill, scholarly interest, and professional commitment.

It is also his labor of love, and well-rewarded, in that Rana spent about a decade in developing an authentic, systematic bio-bibliographical critical source book on over 4000 creative writers of Indian English. He includes the biographical sketches with bibliographies and critical articles on both well-known and less known poets, fiction and non-fiction writers, playwrights, and other creative personalities, male and female, of the last 220 years. Besides Indian men of letters, he also includes other writers whose roots are in India and who deal with Indian life and culture.

In the making of his massive dictionary of litterateurs, Rana takes help from literary advisers such as G.S. Balarama Gupta, Prema Nandakumar, R.K. Singh, C.S. Singh, A.P. Trivedi, Rajiv Verma, Badri N. Raina, Arun Kumar, and S.C. Dwivedi who also contribute critical articles and/or comments about various authors’ lives and work. He also takes assistance from Rekha Rana, though it is not clear what her specific contribution is.

The compiler also makes use of several scholarly journals, magazines, and dailies that include The Hindu, India Today, Outlook, Biblio, Creative Forum, Language Forum, Indian Literature, Journal of Commonwealth Literature, Journal of Indian Writing in English, Kavya Bharati, Litcrit, Mawaheb International, Metverse Muse, Poet, Poetcrit, Triveni, Cyber Literature, Commonwealth Quarterly etc. Some of these journals have ceased publication now.

The layout of the alphabetically arranged entries typically includes personal information, career history, including academics and honors, literary output — poetry, drama, fiction, prose, travelogue, letters, diaries, narratives, trans-creation, and other works. The critical bibliography appears in the form of major books and PhD. theses. Then, there is a note of appraisal on the literary endeavors of the author. Where available, the compiler provides the contact or email address at the end of the entry.

Needless to say, Rana tries to place the writers in the larger perspective of Indian English literary history just as he seeks to empower the interested researchers and scholars to decide about their areas of specialization and/or understanding of the topics of research (for M.Phil or PhD dissertation) via the information provided in the Dictionary.

The appendices reflect upon the status of Indian English at home and abroad even as it is encouraging to know that besides Indian universities, 89 foreign universities promote researches in Indian English literature.

At a time when study of literature is losing importance among our students, A Dictionary of Indian English Litterateurs should help promote Indian English Literature to study the humanities. It should also prove indispensable in effective study of and research in Indian English Writing to enhance critical understanding and human values.

Despite printing errors in several articles and comments culled from various books and journals, I find the Dictionary fascinating and significant, and recommend it to all English Departments and libraries in the country and abroad.

Download EBooks: Your Guide to Green Reading

Have you ever wondered how many trees it takes to print your 300-odd pages of paperback bestseller?

In recent years, the Green Movement has gained momentum to such a degree that green has become, in a word, "in". Different industries have made tremendous efforts to put the environment into their corporate social responsibility agenda.

Environmentalists can enumerate many ways that you can take part in this global movement for environmental awareness, but one major contribution that an avid reader – a certified booklover, bookworm, and bibliophile like you – can do is to begin shifting from paper-based publications to digital ones.

Remember when you first started building your personal library? Starting a book collection of paperbacks, first editions, special editions, hardbound tomes, signed copies, and rare finds is a gargantuan task, and once your collection has grown, it's even more difficult to part with it. Fortunately, this guide is not a die-hard fan of the uber-radical. What this guide suggests is for you to keep your library as it is … as well as to shift your focus from buying printed copies to downloading eBook versions of books that you want to read. You'll be surprised at how easily you can start building an eBook library from scratch – and how convenient the switch would be.

Why download eBooks?
There are other advantages to making the move from printed to digital versions. For one, thereare literally millions of eBooks to choose from, and, depending on the memory size of your reading device, you can own as much book as your public library. All of these books are readily available for you in a format that saves you precious space and waste: no clutter, and no guilt of wasting paper.

Another advantage of having a digital library is that you can organize your collection in an instant. This makes retrieval easier as well; you don't have to go through shelves and piles to look for one title that might have been misplaced. Also, there are no paper hassles, no clutter, no moth-eaten or torn pages, and no more vandalized covers. There will no longer be unreturned, missing or misplaced books. Best of all, no paper trail: you can horde as many eBooks as you like without the guilt of having a tree, or two, or three killed for your reading enjoyment.

Building an eBook Library
The good thing is that building an eBook library from the ground up is so much easier than starting a printed-book collection. For starters, there are millions of ready-to-download eBooks online. The web is replete with eBook versions of classics like Jane Austen and Charles Dickens to recent bestsellers like John Grisham and Anne Rice; you just have to know where to look for the best sites that can offer you the choicest versions.

For classics, you can start by checking out Project Gutenberg's enormous collection of fiction and nonfiction works using their user-friendly site feature that works just like any OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog). Bestsellers from major publication houses may be a little bit more difficult to find – difficult, but not impossible. At present, most publications offer digital versions of books that readers can pore over on their eBook reading devices.

Some online catalogs that you can visit include those of major publication houses like Random House and HarperCollins; bookstores like Barnes & Noble and Booklocker; and eBook websites like and Even developers of eBook reading devices like iPad and Kindle offer free eBooks to go with your newly-purchased device.

If you're the kind of reader who wants to explore books without bias towards genre or author, there are several indie publishers and self-publishers who showcase their fiction and nonfiction works in eBook format for little or no cost. There are many sites where you can download eBooks for free. The key is to keep the passion for learning alive and burning.

The trick here is to pick a reading device that allows you to read your favorite page-turner whenever you want, wherever you may be. If you had to spend most of your time on your laptop for work or academic reasons, it might be best to keep it simple: just install the latest Adobe Reader and download eBooks in portable document format (pdf). Portable reading devices like Kindle, iPad, and iPhone give you the same feeling as having a book lying flat open on your lap, but with additional features like digital bookmarks, marking pens, and text-to-speech software to enhance your reading experience.

Now that you know the basics, have fun building your digital eBook library!

Book Review: How Sachin Destroyed My Life by Vikram Sathaye

How Sachin Destroyed my Life – Now, that is a very brave title for a book released in India, where the name Sachin is synonymous with GOD. But Vikram surely got 50% of the attention and hype that is very much required for a non-fiction work with that title.

There were many books on cricketers and especially Sachin. People have spoken at length about his technique, temperament, character and his special hundreds. But Vikram offered a rare perspective. I cannot think of many cricket humorists and stand-up comedians other than Vikram Sathaye and Andy Zaltzman. In a way, the book voices the feelings of the entire male population of India. Sachin, in fact destroyed many lives. At some point or the other, Sachin played a part in our personal and professional lives. Vikram touches upon those aspects wonderfully. He just captures exactly what we, as the cricket mad population, went through watching Sachin grow from strength to strength. He, in fact, balances the feelings wonderfully. He laces each sentence with wit and humour. The moment you think he is hurting the Sachin fan in you, he makes you laugh out loud with those witty punch lines. The fact that he has not played the game at the highest level makes us perceive him as one of us – a common cricket fan. The fact that he lived the dream of every Indian cricket fan, without being a cricketer himself, gives us a sense of hope. The initial chapters focus very much on the struggles of Vikram as he tries to perceive his cricket dream. These chapters provide enough justification to the first half of the book’s title. You sympathize with Vikram all the way and you wish he was as successful at cricket as Sachin. When he does cross paths with his idol incidentally, you wish you were Vikram. His success story emphasizes the role of destiny in one’s life.

The most touching part of the book is the story of Mane Kaka, the team’s masseur. These are the people we never get to know. These are the people who take care of our heroes. It’s a great story and it ought to be told. Vikram should be lauded for introducing us to Mane kaka. In a way, I think both Vikram and Mane Kaka treaded the same path. If Mane Kaka’s was the most touching aspect of the book, the references to Virender Sehwag were heart warming. Sehwag is one of a kind player. He has a natural style and aura to his batting and character. Vikram dedicates a chapter to Sledging and it was great to learn how Sehwag reacted to Michael Clarke sledging Sachin. These are the aspects of the game a common cricket fan craves for. There are many such anecdotes in Vikram’s book. He touches up on some rarely discussed aspects as well in a serious tone. Commentators with a non-cricketing background were one such topic. He explains how difficult it is for a commentator or a presenter with no background of professional cricket, to survive in the cricket world.

The book is a wonderful read and it leaves you craving for more. Well done Vikram. You are now a Sachin for many, in your own right.

Book Review: A Handbook of the Indian Poetics and Aesthetics

Ami Upadhyay. A Handbook of the Indian Poetics and Aesthetics. Bareilly: Prakash Book Depot, 2017, Pages 177, Price: Rs. 125/-. ISBN 978-81-7977-601-8

Though interest in classical Indian poetics has been live, nothing new seems to have been added or discovered over the last half-a-century or more. New books by professors of English, at best, have been repetitive. A scholar of the stature of Ananda Coomaraswamy is awaited to relate Sanskrit poetics to Western theoretical developments in the present century.

Having said this, I am happy to browse through the book in hand, a “compendium of delight,” as Ami Upadhyay says. Ami is a classical dancer and teacher of English language and comparative literature, and competent to tell us about Indian poetics and aesthetics, including theories of Rasa, Riti, Dhvani, Vakrokti, Alankaras, Aucitya, Guna-Dosa, etc. She obviously dwells on Bharata’s Natya Shashtra and briefly touches upon other Sanskrit poeticians and theorists such as Dandin, Jagannatha, Kuntaka, Abhinavagupta, Ksemendra Rajasekhara, Vishwanatha, Hemendra and others, on the one hand, and Plato, Aristotle, Ananda Coomaraswamy, and other Europeans, on the other.

Organised in three parts, the first part seeks to define aesthetics, poetry, and drama (Natya, Nataka and Kavya) with a brief description of the background of Indian poetics. The second part deals with the various schools of Indian poetics, explaining the characteristic aspects of the Rasa in the Vedas, Upanishads, and Ayurveda; rasa as Ananda (pleasure); Sringara rasa (erotic sentiments); Karuna rasa (pathetic sentiment); Raudra and Vira rasa (the terrible and the heroic); Hasya rasa and Adbhuta rasa (the comic and the marvellous); Bhayanak and Vibhatsa rasa (the terrible and the odious); and Santa rasa (the tranquil). Ami also deals with the concept and structure underlying the Natya Shashtra in ten chapters. In the remaining ten chapters of the second part, she discusses the theoretical and explanatory contributions from other prominent poeticians and aesthetes. The third part presents a list of major theorists and their works; glossary of important terms, and selected bibliography.

The short chapters on Coomaraswamy, and Indian and Western Literary criticism and poetics, along with the appendices should help new scholars pursue further study in a subject which is already part of English literature course in many universities in India and overseas.

Ami’s handbook is clearly planned and well-developed, but omission of R S Tiwary’s A Critical Approach to Classical Indian Poetics (1984) from her Bibliography is disappointing.

I am pleased to recommend it to Honour’s and M A students.

–Professor R K Singh

Book Review: Aarushi

The Aarushi Talwar murder and trial took India by storm. To date, the Aarushi Talwar murder case is the most controversial case when it comes to murders of young people. While much has been said and spoken about the murders, Avirook Sen, who followed the case for Mirror, has now written a book on his experiences while being involved with the case in journalistic capabilities. Here is a review of the book, Aarushi.


Aarushi Talwar was a thirteen year old girl who was found dead in her apartment, just days before she was to turn fourteen. The case went back and forth, until it was handed over to the CBI. Now, her parents, Rajesh and Nupur Talwar are in the dock and accused of killing their daughter.

The book is a first hand, journalistic ally written account of the sequence of events that started in 2008 and is still going on in some legal device that runs the country.

The book describes in intricate detail the events that spanned the murder and the investigation that took India by storm.

With the guilty verdict hanging over their heads, the case that became the cynosure of the public eye long before, sees no end.


Aarushi is an unflinching look at the events that has played such an important role in a number of lives. The points that the book raises and makes are valid, and is a stunning account of an entire country and legal system that just did not know how to handle the death of a young girl under mysterious circumstances.

The points raised by the book in the investigation clearly points towards an entire system that just needed an accused party to close the sensational case. To be fair, a journalist deciphers how the media in India turned the story on its tail for some unique reason.

Aarushi might be the first book that delves into the life of the Talwars, and gives a description of them to the readers. This might be the only book that provides a mirror image of the Talwars, and is a textbook for anyone wanting to see how the crime cracking system works in India.

Aarushi points at various aspects, and even provides backgrounds of everyone involved with the murder, and creates a scenario where the reader asks…

Were we ready for Aarushi?

At the end, the book is an interesting view of two Indias that clashed so unwittingly in that small room in Delhi. Mix it with the human psyche and its amazing ability to connect anything to anything to make it base, and you know exactly why the Aarushi case is still on the top of everyone’s minds even today.