Its not about the bike… Its about Lance Armstrong, a Tarnished name now.

Book: It’s Not About the Bike: My Journey Back to Life                                                                                                                                  lance

Author:Lance Armstrong with Sally Jenkins
Genre: Autobiographical/Personal Memoirs
Madhu Stars: 4.5/5
A struggle of Cancer, Cycling, and the fight to be the color yellow.
                                           Lance Armstrong, one name which will never be forgotten in the world of professional cyclists. But now may be for the wrong reasons than the right. It was very difficult and dicey for me to write this post, because it was going to be strictly a book review and not a post in support /against of Lance.
The book presents a detailed insight into the life of a very prominent cyclist Lance Armstrong the six-time winner of the Tour de France, his hardships, his failures and his enduring tales of success.  Lance as a kid, always felt irritated and burnt down by life, and hated to see his mother take up so many difficulties just to give him a better life. He also felt helpless when his father left him even before he was born and also when his step father hit him, but yet his mother stuck to such people, just because his step dad’s income made their life a little easier. His mother’s presence was the only solace in his life, and one another thing which gave him strength from the inside was Cycling :). He grew passionate about it from the age of 10 and he initially won state level competitions in  Swimming. Then later cycling became his primary sport and love. He was the number one athlete in the under 19 category.
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It was all good and success kissing his feet, not that he was not losing races, but he was being noticed, that he was diagnosed with Testicular cancer at a very later stage. The cancer had already affected his brain and lungs. The book is a more of a world in itself, a world of Lance when it got bad to worse and to a situation where you live with him through his cancer.  He has very well presented every detail of his illness and mentioned every bit of his treatment that you can feel through the hardships any cancer patient goes through.  But with his grit and determination he fights every obstacle in his way and leaves no stone unturned to win over death. He wins. He cycles, he lives with the help of his friends, doctors, his mother, his nurse La trice, His love then, Kik, and many more of his fans who included cancer patients and who were inspired by his struggle. He always lived in the fear that cancer will relapse, and he also gave up on cycling thinking living is more important but his passion for the sport brought him back to life in the real sense and then he fights through only to win,  Tour de France, not once or twice but 6 times.
For a cancer patient to overcome his illness, and cycle in such dire climatic conditions cannot obviously be taken very normally and suspicion around him always lingered. He tested positive, then he had reasons, he denied, he retired, the allegations continued, he finally admitted. But what is the truth? After reading his book, i get biased, i feel after one goes through 3 majors surgeries, recovers from the cancer, and assuming he doped himself, it is still difficult to win a race like  Tour de France   though i agree it is unpardonable.
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Lance started Lance Armstrong Foundation, to give back to the people suffering from cancer. The yellow Livestrong bracelets is its creations which i flaunted in my school time without even knowing what they symbolized. The yellow color represents the Yellow jersey given in the sport of cycling to the person who leads Tour de France.
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But what i found out on the net (http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2265.It_s_Not_About_the_Bike) was very disappointing and shocking to me, He did drugs that’s what everyone says, but that’s not my job to find out, I can just tell my readers the takeway’s from the book. A very very interesting read, (Please do not hold any preconceived notions in your mind), real life is always more tempting to know off,  it gives you inspiration to fight back. It tells you how difficult a cycle race is, be it storm, hail or ice, one has to keep cycling. The right set of people who want you to succeed will always be there in your life. And lastly, god will not knock on your door and help, but he will send people, resources, its up to you to use them in the right direction.
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Images Courtesy: Google.

Information sources: Wikipedia

The Bankster-A superb attempt at Mystery-Ravi Subramanian

Book: The Bankster

Author:Ravi Subramanian
Genre: Fiction(Mystery Thriller)
Madhu Stars:3.5/5
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Here comes another gripping murder mystery by Ravi Subramanian after ‘The Incredible Banker“,If God Was a Banker,I Bought the Monk’s Ferrari and a couple more which won quite a few prestigious awards. Though i never got a chance to hold on to any of his books, i was well aware of his works. Being a management graduate he associates his books books in and around bankers and banking. But the book cover may get you thinking. A man holding a briefcase and a gun, so who is he? a Banker, a Gangster or a Bankster?
The story revolves around a bank known as GB2,  and its interesting characters and their works. It is centralized around a few key employees, Vikram, Tanuja, Harshita, Raymond and a few more and how a few of them get murdered in suspicious circumstances. The surprising part is all these employees are apples of the CEO’s eyes and are supposed to be the best bankers, relationship managers but they blow you away by their corrupt practices and the way they deceive their customers. And money laundering being the hottest topics of now, Ravi has hit bang on. But its just not about the bank. There is another story concentric to this one, which is about an old man, Krishna Menon whose fight is not anywhere close to banking or these bankers but against setting up a nuclear plant who is avenging his son’s death(how, why? Read the book :P) . The beauty is in the sync between these two stories.
Its about lies, deceit and how greed to earn more can take over a person’s humanity. It is obvious that the people close to truth are eliminated and all their deaths look like accidents or suicides.
But will Karan Punjabi, an ex banker and now a journalist with TOI be able to uncover the mystery of the deaths of his ex-colleagues or will the killer be smart enough to deceive him when he is this close to unravel it all.
The book is gripping enough, i really did hold on to it but also forced myself to stop when i felt that i wanted to unravel the mystery myself before i knew the end. I do not feel the book’s cover did any justice to the actual story 😉 but jokes apart, the book’s literary quotient could have been better  and i could have done away with a the melodrama(inherent in most of the Indian Author books) and unnecessary stretching of the book here and there. Every murder mystery is a story within itself and there is a very subtle link between all. I can say so because here the consecutive chapters are not necessarily linked but it does not lose its charm and keeps you reading.
Like a few one liners say about the author comparing him to John Grisham is a far fetched comparison but it is definitely a decent attempt in the lines of mystery.  Not being from management/banking background i do not know if the book can really be called about bankers, that’s up to the other readers to decide. But I guess it is a very good read and does not really bore you at any part. The book picks up pace from the 4/5 chapter onward.
Readers of John Grisham,Stephen White,Michael Crichton e.t.c, might feel that the story has a very expected ending and could have been more finely framed in terms of the deaths and banking policies but i respect any author who can maintain the interest levels of the reader and not let it drop. And besides that the ending was not that expected also :P.. Grab the book, since its worth the money.
This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at BlogAdda.com . Participate now to get free books!
Thanks to BlogAdda for the author autographed copy of the book!
For getting it a little cheaper go for the Flipkart Link.

Too many elements took away the story. Land of the Well

Book: Land of the Well
Author:Sampurna Chatterji
Genre: Fiction
Madhu Stars:2/5
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One book which I was totally looking forward to has disappointed me at quite a few places. The snippet behind the book increased my curiosity levels and made me feel that it would be a good read. Quickly getting to the main theme of the book, it’s about youngsters who are totally misguided by the idea of Death.
The story is set up in Goa, away from the fun and the frolic (surprised? It was off season in Goa), about a young lad who has just finished his 12th exams, brilliant but very protected by his parents. This youngster has a very sad story to share about not having friends ever, always being shielded by his mom and dad, no decision of his own. For a boy of his age where independence is everything, he was being caged. And when you are sad you are vulnerable. This is where the other characters of the story enter Goa and the story begins. And he who is in dire need of friends gives in everything to be in their gang.
For the first time in life he breaks away from his cage and demands to stay back in Goa for a few more days alone. The strength to take this stand comes from straight from his heart after he sees a pretty girl whom he gets attracted to from the very moment he sees her. But she is not alone. She comes with a group of friends very weird in their own ways but with even more weird names.
He does manage to stay back after his parents leave, finally gets to taste independence but everything comes with a price tag. So what price does he pay: something which really shook me off.   He meets them, gets their approval to be one among them, gets their appreciation but is all that for real or a very big trap he is unaware of. The book really held me till he narrates the story of “land of the well” but then the only constant term and feeling in the book was DEATH.
All these friends are traumatized scared and have almost stopped living their life because they are scared they would die someday. To be very honest I did not understand the book after a point, could be because it was beyond my understanding levels or because I always search stuff which I can relate to or a feel good/bad (this din feel anything-may be too mournful). There are a lot of crisscrossed love stories, lot of deaths and one murder or maybe not hidden in the story.
My advice: Pick up the book and try to finish it at one go. If not you might lose the flow.
After a point the book had a lot of repetitions of the same incidents, same characters and failed to leave a mark in my mind. I do not know which adjective I should associate with the book: Spiritual, philosophical, or morose.  It’s for you if you can associate to one of these attributes closely. I would not agree that it was a mystery or even if it was, it was not carried out properly.  A little lesser pages with a little more of suspense/proper story line would have done justice to the book.

Opening Night- Diksha Basu

Madhu Stars: 2.5/5
All human beings Rich or poor, black or white, have one thing in common, DREAMS. And it takes tremendous amount of passion to follow them, fulfill them and this journey to hug our desires defines our lifetime.
Opening Night might not say everything from its name, but it’s a journey of many lows and very few highs of our Lead character, Naiya Kapur.  She is an Indian, born and brought up in America. She has a comfortable, sheltered life with her father. Though not very studious, she bagged herself a job in a corporate, wore stylish clothes, but gradually her high heels and pencil skirt life got monotonous like all ours. And just like all of us, at a moment she ponders, “Was this is all I dreamed off? Am I supposed to do this work all my life” And then she was bitten, in fact smitten by the Acting Bug. After performing for a small play in theatre, she felt this is what she was made for, and then as you all could have guessed, she packed her bags and ran away to mahanagari Mumbai, leaving her dreary, humdrum life behind.
In Mumbai She met people, roamed aimlessly on streets of Bandra, fell in love, had a series of disappointments, but her roomies, jess and Dino, added a glow to her life.
 But will Naiya survive? Will her “Happily ever after “dreams come true? Will she ever have an opening Night? Or will she be bored again here in Mumbai and pack her bags back to her life in America? Grab a copy to know.
 I enjoyed the book given the Bollywood touch to it. It’s predictable at times, but still holds you.  One thing which stood out for me personally was the traditional culture which Naiya held to, she never fell into bed with every stranger she met, she took her dad’s advice, she knew what she had to do and never compromised on that, may be her dollars helped her as well. 🙂
Yes the book drags, and after a point you can guess that she would not make it at all, there is only disappointments and isolation.
But all in all, it’s a good pass time book, with very few moments which makes you stare at the page and think for a while.

Tin Fish-Book Review

All these days of my life I tried my level best to know what guys talk amongst themselves and Tin Fish is like giving you a young boy’s diary well edited and composed of hilarious episodes. Tin fish is a nicely composed story of fun filled and challenging incidents of four young lads studying at a posh boarding school. It’s about Brandy, Porridge, Fish and PT Shoe. Thinking how guys can have such weird names, well these are the pet names of Barun Ray(The hero J ), Sanjay, Pratap and another guy whose name I do not remember. I bet you too cant because after reading the book for some time, you too will feel more associated to Brandy and not Barun.
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Yes giving pet names to people is a part and parcel of our lives and so is there’s especially because they are school going kids but every pet name has a story. Brandy a Bengali chap, is sent to Mayo, a boarding school at Ajmer, and Tin fish is one of his favorite foods (though I do not really know why the book was named so, may be because they relished Tin fish and it stayed with them forever). He gets ragged, but then ends up making the best of friends in his life: Fish, porridge, and PT Shoe.  They discuss of all things in this world, be it their hatred for kipling, Moraji desai’s Urine funda, zeeni baby(Zeenat Aman J). They are great company for each other in happiness and  in sorrow.
A lot of people gripe about Indian authors blaming their books to be very narrative, having very simple English, but surprisingly these are a few things which matter to me. I ask you how nice can a book get if it’s as though someone is narrating it you so expressively, and I really do not like sitting with a dictionary because of the excessive verbiage in some books. I like it simple.
Tin Fish did justice to both my needs. A few more things which stood out were the way the author captured the honesty and innocence in these adolescents is and how well the stark reality of death is handled by them. Ya someone dies. I do not wish to reveal anything more.
When they leave the school after their boards I was in tears because I can so well relate to the pangs of separation from my closest friends after my tenth boards.
Owing to my busy days I read the book in parts, which sort of spoiled the fun, so I suggest read major chunks of the book together if you really want to enjoy it. Also one thing which I strongly felt not so appealing about the book, is that the author has been too descriptive about many things, where the book drags a little. All in all it is a book which would be thoroughly enjoyed especially by guys, a little less by girls since we can’t relate much. Another revelation about guys is they too are very emotional at times. So if you wish dive deep into your old fun times with your hostel mates Tin fish is for you.
Keep reading, keeps you healthy
Time for my stars: 3.5/5.
A special note for the author: Tin Fish was a breeze man 🙂 🙂 🙂

Love can happen a lot of times…. after all we all crave for love :).

A review for Ravinder Singh’s second novel:Can love happen twice.

Title: Can Love Happen Twice?                                                                                                                           
Author: Ravinder Singh
Publisher: Penguin
Genre:  Love story
Price-125(Flipkart gives you at 88)
Madhu’s stars: 3/5

Ravinder Singh, author of Indian bestseller, “I too had a love story-True story” , is back with  fiction this time. His previous novel was one painful read dedicated to his girl friend Khushi, who died a week before their marraige. His next book’s title is apt for the story he has carried, and will be a interesting read for people who have had heart breaks.

The plot is simple but Ravin likes to add a sad flavor to his books. Ravin is still deeply immersed in Khushi’s memories when he meets someone else.So will they fall in love? Will they get married? Will Ravin not feel guilty of loving someone else., when he loves khushi so much?Well read the book if you want the answers, but one secret which i can reveal is it has different sort of a setup. The whole book is actually a narration on the Radio by Ravin’s friends on Valentines day.At a lot of places the story seems true and a lot of places it seems made up.

Personally i do not believe that love can keep happening a lot of times and also love can happen just once in life. Seems contradictory right? What i mean here is  if the other person has not cheated on you or has not died then it is difficult to move on. Since then its nobody’s fault.But on the contrary if the other person does not give a damn about you then there was no love ever.   And one just has to move on and find true love. But we all crave for a little care, compassion and like to be made feel special and we are tend to fall again.

So if you think its time to move on, pick up this book, it might make you cry at the end or you might just toss it up in the air and say “what a waste of time”, “How bollywoodish”, but i think books of fiction are meant to be like films, they are meant to hold for those 200 pages and make you feel good. All in all, the book is very okay and the proof reading is bad. Ravin could have made it much better. The first novel was way better. This one seems too fake at times.

Image Courtesy:Google

Best and Safe deal: You can buy it:
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It was wise to read Wise and Otherwise :)

Title: Wise And Otherwise: A Salute To Life                                                                                          
Author: Sudha Murthy
Publisher: Penguin
Genre:  Life stories
Price-199
Madhu’s stars: 3.5/5

Wise and Otherwise was a book which i picked up looking at its title and then when i came to know it’s by Sudha Murthy, my interest in it deepened. Though i have not met her in personal life, when i read about her work and i developed a sort of respect towards her.

Wise and Otherwise is a collection of 50 really short stories in which Sudha Mam has brought about the various traits,colors of different individuals, has put on the table harsh and shocking realities of life.  Her language is very simple and the stories are about two-three pages at the max. Her stories are mostly her experiences with people she met during her social work, or professionally or may just her friends.

They are about how people just tried to take undue advantage of her dedication towards social work and expected her to donate money to come out of their silly problems, so much that in one of the incidents a lady threatens to end her life if Sudha does not help. Also there are a couple of heart touching tales where a father is left behind by his own son in an old age home, and the son then disguises himself to have found the old man on the road, and he also shamelessly turns up to get some money when his father dies. Such stories bring tears to your eyes.

The best part of these stories are they all have something to teach us. So it’s up to the reader if he really wants to takeaway a few of them.

About the Author: Sudha Murty   is an Indian social worker and author. Mrs. Murthy began her professional career as a computer scientist and engineer, currently she is the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation and member of public healthcare initiative of the Gates Foundation.[1][2] In addition, she has established several orphanages, participated in rural development efforts, and supported the movement to provide all government schools in Karnataka with state-of-the-art computer and library facilities.[3][4] Mrs. Murthy also teaches computer science and composes fiction

Kudos Sudha Mam.

Image Courtesy:Google.

About the Author:Wikipedia

Best and Safest Deal for the book:
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