Life...The Most Complicated Thought

The unexamined life is not worth living. ~Socrates

Blog Analysis

Here is Urlai's analysis of my blog: 





iPad: The Blog Killer

Two months ago, I bought my iPad, which is around the same time my last entry was posted. Do you see the connection? Every day I drove to work thinking that I will post something from my iPad today. However, every time I get a hold of my iPad, I am either reading, playing games, reading news...doing everything but blogging. Today morning I made a decision that I will write an entry the old school way - on my computer :)

After my rant, I am sure you have figured out why the title of the blog is "iPad: The Blog Killer."

Here is what all I have on my iPad:

1. Books: I uploaded tons of books on the iPad. I downloaded the apps iBooks, Kindle and Nook. I have used both iBooks and Kindle. All the classics books are free online. On top of that, Amazon has tons of free books, which include Tagore and historical non-fictions about India. I really liked the ability to highlight and comment on text and look up words in the dictionary while you are reading.

2. Games: I downloaded tons of games. The best ones are Fruit Ninja, Angry Birds, Sudoku, and Mahjong. What can I say? I am a nerd at heart.

3. Music: I love listening to music when I am doing chores around the house and having them on my iPad is definitely a plus. These two music apps, Shazam and SoundHound, recognize songs. It has happened many times when I have listened to a song on the radio and did not know the singer/band/album. Now I just record 30 seconds of it and let these apps figure out the song. It is awesome!!!

4. Photo editing apps: I am a sucker for photo shop and having the apps that make it easier definitely makes the whole iPad fun.

5. Other apps: I have news apps, entertainment apps (StumbleUpon), and social apps (Facebook and Twitter)

As you can tell, I love my iPad. Now if I can just find some cool noise-cancelling headphones :)

On to the books: I have read many books since my last book post. I am too lazy to talk too much about any of them.

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bend - 5/10 - Some books start off good but leave a bitter taste in your mouth at the end. This was definitely one of those.

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Audio Book) - 9/10 - This book is among the good books I read this year.

What is This Thing Called Love? by Gene Wilder  - 7/10

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman (Audio Book) - 10/10 - I am a fan of Neil Gaiman and love everything by him. This book was not an exception. I loved it. The book is actually based on the BBC show called "Neverwhere."

Serious Men by Manu Joseph - 9/10 - This was an excellent book. I felt this was better than The White Tiger.

I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (Audio Book) - 7/10 - I am still so confused about the ending. If anybody knows what happened at the end, please let me know.

The Arabian Nights (Children version) - 10/10- I missed lots of stories but at the same time, the book brought back childhood memories. I remember reading Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves in grade school and some other stories. Someday I want to pick up the unabridged version of The Arabian Nights.

The Late, Lamented Molly Marx by Sally Koslow (Audio Book) - 8/10 - It is a chic lit - enjoyable.

Arranged Marriage by Chitra Divakaruni - 8/10 - I was so looking forward to Chitra Divakaruni's Arranged Marriage. It was good; however, I must warn you, the stories are depressing.

London is the Best City in America by Laura Dave (Audio Book) - 8/10 - Another chic lit- enjoyable.

Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok - 9.5/10 - This was a really good book.

The story deals with Asian American emigration experience. Kim, who immigrated to America, has to balance between work life (she is underage) and school life. She works to help her mother and make ends meet. It is really a touching story.

The Devil and Sherlock Holmes: Tales of Murder, Madness, and Obsession  by David Grann (Audio Book) - 8/10 - There are some topics that just appeal to me, and Sherlock Holmes is one of them. I have never read any of the mysteries but the books are definitely on my list. This book deals with real life events of "murder, madness, and obsession." I would listen to the stories and then check online afterwards for the full stories and the current status. I felt some stories did not relate; thus, I am giving it an 8. I highly recommend this book, along with other book that I rated above 7.

I read few more but I will talk about them in a separate posts.

I signed up the Audio Book Challenge last year. I chose the obsessed level, which was listening to 20 audio books. I had listened to 16 audio books before I took a hiatus. This post has five audio books, which puts me at 21 audio books. I just finished The M-factor, another audio book and will start The Hunger Games tomorrow. The total for this year is 23 audio books. I am done with the challenge. Yay!!!! This was fun. I am going to sign up again and will make a separate post.


P.S. I got my CPA license.

Life Update

I realized that I am getting more and more lazy. Life is so routine and I need a change. I guess I was so used to spending 3 hours after work every day at the library and now I need something exciting to fill that time. Daily soap on TV is so boring because I have no idea what is going on in each show.

As I am writing this, I am yawning. Any ideas on how to make life not so boring???

Well, here is an update about life (more like this week):

Last weekend, I joined the gym. All that sitting in the office and then at the library did not do me any good. Monday was the first "work-out" day. I attended Zumba class. I was always considered a good dancer in my family, but after attending that class, I no longer consider myself a good dancer. I felt so stiff. The last ten minutes of the class, the instructor taught belly dancing. I stood still because she was doing stuff that I cannot dream of doing. Overall, it was okay.

Monday/Tuesday: I finished I am the Messenger by Markus Zusak. He wrote The Book Thief, which is one of my favorites. I am the Messenger was an okay book. The ending was little confusing. I will talk about this later.

I also finished Serious Men by Manu Joseph. This book really picked up and just got better and better. I enjoyed it.

I started One thousand and One Arabian Nights by Geraldine McCaughrean and As Luck would Have it (Audio CD) by Joshua Piven.

Wednesday: We had health fair at my workplace. I got bunch of goodies. Also, I signed up to be an organ donor. I figured the end is undecided for us. However, I might as well make a difference in somebody's life after death.

Thursday: Family decided to go out to eat at Olive Garden, which recently opened in our town. Our server was horrible. We waited a long time on our food and when we finally got it, it was wrong dish. I was annoyed but we still generously tipped him.

Friday: I found out that the second disc of As Luck would Have it is missing. I think it was missing when I checked it out from the library. I did a thorough search of my car when I got home. It was sort of annoying because I was really enjoying the book. I will get the book from the library to read. Now I have to figure out which book to listen to next. I have Emma by Jane Austen in my car, but I do not feel like listening to it now. I want something light. Any suggestions???

Saturday: I met with a trainer at the gym. I think I will stick to my ways at the gym. She made me do exercises that look easy. I am so sore. I also watched The Blind Side starring Sandra Bullock. That was a good movie. As I am typing this, I am watching Bluffmaster. I love this movie.

I also bought my brother an iPod Touch 4G. He is excited about it. Of course, I have full access to it. :)

This weekend I am planning to buy the iPad. I am excited!!!

Anyways, time to get/cook something to eat.

Time Quartet Series by Madeleine L'Engle

Before I start talking about the books, I have to say I only listened to the first three novels of the total five. I am mad at myself that I actually wasted time on the second and the third novel. I do not plan on finishing the series or reading any of the author's other works.

I checked out all three audio books together, which I shouldn't have done. Since they all were sitting in my car, I listened to all three.

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle is considered a classic children's book. I am going to come out straight. I did not enjoy any of the three books. I feel like I wasted my time listening to them. The stories did not make any sense, especially the third book. The third book was very choppy and was very difficult to follow. I wish Ms. L'Engle had continued the story from the first book. The stories were unrelated and the only common thing between the books were the Murry family. The only character I liked was Calvin O'Keefe and Ms. L'Engle made sure that his role was less and less as the series progressed. I think he was the only sane and normal character in all three books.

I give all three books 2 out of 10. I do not recommend these books.

All three books qualify for the Audio Book Challenge.










I am DONE!!!!

I received my score for the last CPA exam last Friday. I am very very HAPPY to say that I am DONE with the CPA exams. In about a month or so, I should receive my certificate (all depends on my manager signing my documents). For me, this is one of my biggest accomplishments so far. I cannot believe that I am going to be a:

CPA

I am 22 and I have my Bachelors degree and CPA certificate. I hope that next year I will start my Masters. That is my short-term goal. As for long term, I have no idea what I want to do with my life. I do not want to continue doing what I do for rest of my life. Oh well...I do not want to think about that now. I am just happy with what I have done so far. I will think about the future tomorrow.


Since I am done, (took me almost 2 years), I think I am going to give myself a treat. I am going to buy an iPad. I am too excited. I have already decided the apps and books I want on there. I cannot wait to get my hands on it. That's it for my life update.



My Top Ten: Books I've Re-Read

I saw this post on It's All About Books by Suey: Books I've Re-Read.

I think the title is self-explanatory so here we go:

The Giver by Lois Lowry
Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Outsiders by S.E Hinton (needs another read)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J.K. Rowling
Breathing Underwater by Alex Flinn
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine
Sideway Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

I really really want to re-read these books:

The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Many books by Neil Gaiman


What books do you find yourself re-reading over and over?

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I have been pecked by the Twitter bird...you can find me @ www.twitter.com/totallytanu.

Reading Meme

Uniquely Priya had this reading meme about a month ago. I have been meaning to do it, and finally I had the chance.

1. Favorite childhood book?
Cam Jansen Series (The girl with the photographic memory). My love for reading started with her.

2. What are you reading right now?
Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman and Serious Men by Manu Joseph

3. What books do you have on request at the library?
As of now, none. I am trying to place a hold request on The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.

4. Bad book habit?
Take too long to read a book just because I am lazy.

5. What do you currently have checked out at the library?
Ummm…too many to write down. All the books I read/listen to are checked out from the library.

6. Do you have an e-reader?
Not yet. I hope that soon I will buy an iPad.

7. Do you prefer to read one book at a time, or several at once?
Usually I am reading one book and listening to another.

8. Have your reading habits changed since starting a blog?
Yeah.

9. Least favorite book you read this year (so far?)
Tie between Half Life by Roopa Farooki and The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender

10. Favorite book you’ve read this year?
Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

11. How often do you read out of your comfort zone?
I try.

12. What is your reading comfort zone?
I am still trying to figure that out. Chic lits, fiction, non-fiction humor (few)

13. Can you read on the bus?
No

14. Favorite place to read?
My bed

15. What is your policy on book lending?
I want my book in the same condition I lend it to you. I have gotten books back without the book covers. Grrrrr…

16. Do you ever dog-ear books?
I used to but not anymore.

17. Do you ever write in the margins of your books?
Not anymore. I was required to do that in high school.

18. Not even with text books?
Nope because I wanted to sell them back :P

19. What is your favorite language to read in?
English

20. What makes you love a book?
A good story, an unexpected ending (but not too much out there)…something that makes me think.

21. What will inspire you to recommend a book?
If I enjoyed it, I will recommend it to anybody and everybody.

22. Favorite genre?
Hmmm…I don’t know. I enjoyed few romance novels, few chic lits, and few non-fictions. If the story interests me, I read it.

23. Genre you rarely read (but wish you did?)
I used to love mysteries but haven’t really picked one up for a while. I don’t usually read Sci-fi; though, I enjoyed Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card very much.

24. Favorite biography?
I can’t think of any…

25. Have you ever read a self-help book?
Chicken Soup for the soul books are among the best self-help books. Enjoyable and helpful

26. Favorite cookbook?
I don’t own any. Google is my best friend here.

27. Most inspirational book you’ve read this year (fiction or non-fiction)?
 Inspirational?...hmm…again..Can’t think of any (not for this year).

28. Favorite reading snack?
Chocolates…but then I usually read before I am about to sleep so no snacks at that time.

29. Name a case in which hype ruined your reading experience.
I pick up a book if the story interests me. If I am enjoying a book or want to read a book desperately, I avoid all reviews. If I feel the book is so-so, then I usually go and read the Wikipedia entry for it.

30. How often do you agree with critics about a book?
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

31. How do you feel about giving bad/negative reviews?
I actually look for positive reviews to see that maybe I missed something. I am indifferent about writing a negative review.

32. If you could read in a foreign language, which language would you chose?
I can read in Hindi but, that is fading away. Maybe french?

33. Most intimidating book you’ve ever read?
I try to stay away from these kinds of books.

34. Most intimidating book you’re too nervous to begin?
Shantaram…I so want to read this book. I actually made the librarian order an audio book.

35. Favorite Poet?
I am still exploring this. I do enjoy reading Rabindranath Tagore and enjoyed Childe Harold's Pilgrimage and She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron

36. How many books do you usually have checked out of the library at any given time?
Anywhere from 4 books to 10 books, (this includes books and audio books)

37. How often have you returned book to the library unread?
When I was studying to be a CPA, I did that often. I am trying to change that.

38. Favorite fictional character?
Ender (Ender’s Game), Jonas (The Giver), and Nobody Owens (The Graveyard book)

39. Favorite fictional villain?
I don’t think I have one. I have to think about this one..

40. Books I’m most likely to bring on vacation?
Entertaining Chic lits - something that does not make me think.

41. The longest I’ve gone without reading.
Years – Most of my college days, I did not read (textbooks don’t count as books).

42. Name a book that you could/would not finish.
The Numbers Game

43. What distracts you easily when you’re reading?
Music

44. Favorite film adaptation of a novel?
Pride and Prejudice (BBC episodes) and Namesake

45. Most disappointing film adaptation?
I was somewhat disappointed by The Time Traveler’s Wife.

46. The most money I’ve ever spent in the bookstore at one time?
I usually don’t buy books.

47. How often do you skim a book before reading it?
I just read the back cover.

48. What would cause you to stop reading a book half-way through?
If I am half-way through and I still don’t know what is going on, I will stop reading it.

49. Do you like to keep your books organized?
I usually organize them by the height of the book. I don’t have that many books to organize.

50. Do you prefer to keep books or give them away once you’ve read them?
I am opposite from everybody. I check out books from the library first. If I enjoyed it, then I want to buy it.

51. Are there any books you’ve been avoiding?
Shantaram. There is also Atlas Shrugged. I am not avoiding it but I have to be in the mood to pick up the book. I am going to dedicate the next month to Atlas Shrugged. I really enjoyed Ayn Rand’s other stuff and I am looking forward to Atlas Shrugged.

52. Name a book that made you angry.
I cannot think of one right now, but I am sure there are several.

53. A book you didn’t expect to like but did?
Eat, Pray, Love.

54. A book that you expected to like but didn’t?
As It was Written by Sujatha Hampton and My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult.

55. Favorite guilt-free, pleasure reading?
Sophie Kinsella.


Phew…that was long but I had fun!

Unfinished: The Numbers Game by Michael Blastland


I tried multiple times to read this book. I think I got as far as seven pages. It was very boring. I finally decided to stop torturing myself. If anybody has read this book and thinks otherwise, let me know.

I have finished six books since my last book post:
  1. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
  2. The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender
  3. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (Audio CD)
  4. A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle (Audio CD)
  5. Ah, Sweet Mystery of Life by Roald Dahl
  6. What is This Thing Called Love? by Gene Wilder

I am currently reading:
  1. A Swiftly Tilting Planet by Madeleine L'Engle (Audio CD)
  2. Serious Men by Manu Joseph
I have gotten as far as the third chapter in Serious Men and so far, it is an okay book. I will read few more pages before deciding whether to stop reading this book. I only picked it up after seeing the cover.


I also watched the Pride & Prejudice BBC mini-series. I absolutely loved it and Colin Firth was just great. It is definitely going to be part of my dvd collection. Now only if I can get my hands on the Keira Knightley version (2005) movie.

Movie Review: Raavan

I watched this movie about a month ago on Sony TV. From the reviews, I knew this was not worth watching in the theater. You know what? This movie is not even worth watching on TV. I wasted 3 hours of my life on this movie...those precious hours. I could have read or something. What can I say? Curiosity got the best of me and you know what they say..."Curiosity killed the cat."

There was no plot, no story, and very bad direction. I got the gist of what the movie was suppose to be about. Apparently, so-called Raavan (Abhishek Bachhan) is actually good and Ram (Vikram) is the true villain. They have taken all the memorable parts of Ramayana and presented it in the movie:

  1. Lord Ram - Sita- That is portrayed by Aishwarya Rai and Vikram as Ragini and Dev Pratap. Ragini is very much in love with her husband and will support him no matter what.
  2. Lakshman (Ram's brother) - Nikhil Dwivedi as Inspector Hemant. He almost dies. (Lakshman almost died in Ramayana)
  3. Hanuman - Govinda as Sanjeevani Kumar. Here I drew the line...In his introduction scene, Govinda was jumping off trees and playing hide and seek, like a mischievous monkey. He led the police force in Beera's "Lanka."
  4. Raavan - Abhishek Bachhan as Beera. He is a mix of Raavan and Robin Hood. What I did not understand about his character was the weird noises he made. I think the movie could have done without those. They became annoying.
  5. Surpanaka - Priyamani as Jamuni. She is Beera's sister (true to the real Ramayana). In Ramayana, Lakshman cuts Surpanaka's nose and insults her. In the movie, Inspector Hemant, at Priyamani's weddings, picks her up from the mandap by holding her nose and take her to the station, and physically insult her there.
  6. Kumbhakarna and Ahiravana - Mangal (Ravi Kishan) and Hari (Ajay Gehi).
Here are the parallels between Ramayana and Raavan:
  • In Ramayana, Ravan abducts Sita mata to avenge the insult of his sister, Surpanaka. In the movie, Beera kidnaps Ragini to avenge his sister's insult.
  • In Ramayana, Ram killed Ravan. In the movie, Inspector Dev Pratap kills Beera.
  • In Ramayana, Ram doubted Sita's character after she returns. In the movie, Dev Pratap "doubts" Ragini so that she can go to Beera and he can follow her.
Now to the ending [Spoiler Alert]: Beera dies happy because he knows Ragini has feelings for him.

So yes, like others, I wasted 3 hours of my life on this movie.

I enjoyed the songs and I felt they were the only good part of the movie. A.R. Rehman did a great job. You can check them out here at Raaga.com.

Subse aage honge HINDUSTANI....

Happy Independence Day to my fellow Indians!!!

Look What I Created...

Source: Wordle

Book Reviews

It has been a while since I wrote here. During that time, I finished three books. Here are really really short reviews of the books.

1. Life on the Refrigerator Door by Alice Kuipers:

Short summary: Life on the Refrigerator Door is a poignant and deeply moving first novel about the bonds of love and frustration that tie mothers and daughters together. Told entirely in a series of notes left on the kitchen fridge—some casual, some intimate, some funny, some angry—it is the story of nine months in the life of 15–year-old Claire and her single mother.

The concept was good; however, I felt that very important elements of the story could not make it to the notes. There were many parts where I was confused. Since the story is told by notes, the details of the story are missing. Lots of conversations take place outside the book, and the readers are left guessing. I give this book 7 out of 10.


2. I'll Mature When I'm Dead by Dave Barry:

Short Summary: A brilliantly funny exploration of the treacherous state of adulthood by the Pulitzer Prize-winning humorist. Some people may wonder what this subject has to do with Dave Barry, since Dave's struggled hard against growing up his entire life-but the result is one of the funniest, warmest, most pitch-perfect books ever on that mystifying territory we call "adulthood". In hilarious, brand-new pieces, Dave tackles everything from fatherhood, new fatherhood, self-image, the battle of the sexes, celebrityhood, technology, parenting styles, certain unmentionable medical procedures, and much more.
 I complained earlier that I will not be listening to any audio books because my brother will be carpooling with me. Well, his friend and he got tired of listening to the radio, and we decided to try audio books. First, we tried Jane Eyre because that is their summer reading. It was boring. Then we picked up Dave Barry.

This book has adult humor. Imagine listening to this book with two 17-year olds in the car. You bet I had to skip some chapters. Even then, I enjoyed this book. Along with essays, there are two spoofs of 24, TV show, and Twilight and something for dog lovers. There were several laugh out loud moments; however, there were some boring sections as well. Dave Barry did a good job reading the book. Overall, it was a decent book. I give it 8 out of 10.

This book qualifies for the Audio Book Challenge.

3. Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen:

Short Summary: One day I was 12 years old and broke. Then Grandma gave me Grandpa's old riding lawnmower. I set out to mow some lawns. More people wanted me to mow their lawns. And more and more. . . . One client was Arnold the stockbroker, who offered to teach me about "the beauty of capitalism. Supply and Demand. Diversify labor. Distribute the wealth." "Wealth?" I said. "It's groovy, man," said Arnold. If I'd known what was coming, I might have climbed on my mower and putted all the way home to hide in my room. But the lawn business grew and grew. So did my profits, which Arnold invested in many things. And one of them was Joey Pow the prizefighter. That's when my 12th summer got really interesting.

This book was one of the best children books. It was short, funny, and educational. Usually that combination is hard to find. My brother and his friend enjoyed this book, and that is saying something. Sadly, it was so short that we finished it in two days. We just could not wait to get back to the book. My brother decided to recommend his Economics teacher to assign this book to the students.

There is nothing to say about Gary Paulsen. He is simply a genius. I had a friend who had read Hatchet like million times. That book is on my TBR list.

All I can say is read this book. It is very good. I give this book 10 out of 10. Lawn Boy Returns was released on March 23, 2010, and I can't wait to get my hands on that book.

This book qualifies for the Audio Book Challenge.

Spooky Little Girl by Laurie Notaro


I enjoyed Spooky Little Girl by Laurie Notaro very much.

Short summary: Lucy Fisher just returned from her Hawaiian trip and finds all her stuff outside her house. Martin, her ex-fiancĂ©, is not picking up her calls. She is then fired from her job. Her bad luck does not end there. She dies in an accident. She then has to attend ghost school and learn how to haunt. She finds out that she will have to fulfill an assignment in order to pass on to the State. The fun continues as Lucy finds herself on Earth sitting on her ex-fiancĂ©'s couch ready to haunt...

My eyes were glued to the book from page one to the last page. Even in my lunchtime at work, I was hoping I had brought the book with me to read. It was light, funny, and interesting. Laurie had all the classic haunts such as the flickering of TV, light bulb, writing on foggy mirror, etc. in the novel. The character of Lucy is very likable and the readers will support her.

The concept of the afterlife was interesting. Initially, the book reminded me of the novel Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin, but the novels are different. The only thing that is similar is the word "afterlife". The concept of ghost school was new. I liked how their teacher, Ruby, "gently" breaks the news to all the dead people. There are other ghosts as well but they all have their own assignments. I do not want to give away any spoilers, so I will not discuss what Lucy's assignment is.

Overall, it is one of the best chic lits I have read in a long time. I give this book 9 out of 10.

I visited the author's website and noticed that I had two of her books, but I donated them without reading them. I wish I had read them and then donated them. I will keep an eye out for her books now.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a classic children's book. I did not know that. This book has been on my TBR list ever since I created a spreadsheet to keep track of my books, which was about three years ago. It seems like whomever I mention this book to have either read the book or watched the movie.

Short summary: Claudia and Jamie decide to run away and live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City because Claudia feels she is not appreciated enough by her parents. The museum buys a statue called angel from Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and the statue is suspected to have been crafted by Michelangelo. Both children research to find out the truth.

The story is highly entertaining. I think almost every kid dreams about running away and living someplace exciting like the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I enjoyed listening about Claudia and Jamie's adventures at the museum and afterwards. Jamie is so darn cute and Claudia is equally smart. Jamie handles the money matters and Claudia does the rest. Mrs. Frankweiler is old and childish. She wants her own secrets and adventures just like the children.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in reading about adventures of two little kids. I listened to this book and the reader, Jan Miner, did an excellent job. I give this book 9 out of 10.

This book qualifies for the Audio Book Challenge.

Half Life by Roopa Farooki

Half Life by Roopa Farooki was one of those books that I did not want to read but just had to finish.

I checked this book out because the author and the cover. The cover is so pretty. I read the description and thought it might be like Eat, Pray, Love, is one of my favorites. The saying "Don't judge a book by its cover" is right in this case. I was highly disappointed.

Short Summary: Aruna married her husband just because he asks her. She was trying to run away from her past. Now she has decided to run away from her current life back to her past. Is she running to her past or trying to figure out her present?

I liked the writing style to say that I will read more from Roopa Farooki. However, I did not like this story. The plot and the characters were new. There were many secrets in the story. Some were revealed and some were left as secrets. At times, the story became confusing. There was suppose to be an emotional roller coaster, but I just could not get on it. I felt nothing toward the characters. I might even say that there was a little disgust.

The novel is the story of Aruna, Jazz, and Hassan and the chapters juggle between these characters. Aruna's husband and Jazz were nothing like normal people. I did not like Aruna's character as well. I found her character irritating. The only sections I enjoyed were by Hassan, Jazz's father. I enjoyed reading about Hassan's past and the secrets. The ending was predictable as well.

I hope I enjoy Farooki's other work. This one was not for me. I give this book 4 out of 10.

‘My Sins against Gender-Stereotypes’

Priya from Uniquely Priya tagged me to create a list at least 10 of my sins against gender stereotypes. This tag was started by IHM. I am suppose to list at least ten things I have done, which are against my gender stereotype, i.e., things I should not have done or not suppose to do because I am a female.


Gender inequality is there in every culture, but since I am from India, my experience is only limited to India and USA. Gender inequality is definitely present in Indian culture. India is a male dominant society, where in many parts, women are still considered property. Although it is a male dominant society, India was once led by a female, Indira Gandhi.

Along hearing with broad statements like "Ladkiya paraya dhan hoti hai" (Girls are property of others) and "Ladkiya ma baap par bojhe hoti hai" (Girls are burdens on their parents), I have heard specific statements like you are a girl and running a house should be a first priority and there is no point studying further.

Without further ado, here is my list (I do not know if I can make it to 10):

  1. I will study more after getting my CPA and get Masters in International Business. I have heard comments like, "What's the point of studying further?" I feel that education and career should be my decision. Having said that, I also understand the importance of family and balancing professional and personal life.
  2. I know how to whistle. I taught myself how to do whistle when I was little. 
  3. I love to dance. I am usually the first person on the dance floor, and I do not care what people are thinking or saying, as long as I am enjoying myself.
  4. (This one is common across many blogs) I love to read. I enjoy other activities such as embroidery and scrapbooking. Reading is my passion and I do not think reading has anything to do with gender. I am told that reading is wasting time, which could be used to better activities around the house.
  5. I like to volunteer. I helped in building houses for Habitat for Humanity, and there were people who said I should be the one helping out with nails and tools, since I "cannot carry heavy stuff or do" any "manly" activities.
  6. I have a full-time job and will continue working after marriage. According to some, that is impossible. Girls who work after marriage cannot be a good wife. Hello…this is 21st century. If I have studied and worked hard to be where I am, then it should be my decision. It is my responsibility to balance both. I have not even gotten there in my life and how can someone who does not know me say that I will do a crappy job.
  7. I like to shop but cannot do it for hours and hours. I do not go for any and every girly thing out there. I am more of jeans & t-shirt person and would prefer that to a fancy top any day.
  8. I played Tennis for 4 1/2 years. I have played Cricket in the past. I love to watch sports (except for Golf) on TV.
  9. I sit on motorbikes and scooter "guy" style. I cannot sit with both legs on one side. (I cannot find a picture of this online but people in India probably know what I am talking about).
  10. I do not care about matching my purse with my outfit on day-to-day basis. I use a purse until it is time to retire it. Thus, I do not buy too colorful purses. I stick with general colors like black and brown, because they match everything :)
Wow...I made it 10. There are so many more to write. I will mention few more:

  • I would like to own a business sometime in my life.
  • I love computers and cell phones and cannot imagine a life without them. They are not "dude" gadgets.
I think that is it. There are many more but I will end my post here. Thanks Priya for making me think about things like these. There are many other gender stereotypes annoy me but that rant is for some other time.

The Last Airbender

My brother and I saw The Last Airbender today. I felt the movie was so-so. It could have been a lot better.

The movie is about an Avatar, who has returned after 100 years to bring balance to the world. There are four nations: Water, Fire, Air, and Earth. Fire Nation has taken over the world in the last 100 years. It is the Avatar's job to master all four elements and bring balance.

I have seen the original animated series. The characters in the TV shows are so lively. The storyline can easily be followed. The main character, Aang, is the best in the series. He is about 10 year old, and he acts like it. He does not understand few things and Katara and Sokka, his friends from Southern Water Tribe, act like his body guards, protecting him and guiding him.

The movie failed to capture all these elements. The characters were flat. Aang, played by Noah Ringer, was not animated. According to Wikipedia, Noah is Black Belt, but in the movie, even his martial arts did not seem to be at his best. I do not know much about martial arts. I wanted to see some "jaw-dropping" moves. Katara, played by Nicola Peltz, was the best character. I felt she did justice to the role. Jackson Rathbone as Sukko was also good, but he was more mature in the movie than the series. His childishness is what makes the series fun and same goes for Aang.

As for the story line, it was confusing. I have seen most of the series and the movie was still hard to follow. Imagine going to the movie without having any background knowledge about the storyline. I think that M. Night Shyamalan should have just concentrated on this movie instead of worrying about the trilogy. The movie had so much potential, but it got lost somewhere in the transition.

I give this movie 5 out of 10. Even though this movie was not what I expected, I will still watch the remaining two in the trilogy.

Book Thongs & the Weekend

Monday, I received the Book Thongs that I won at BookSnob's blog. They are gorgeous. As promised, here is a picture of all three beautiful book thongs:



On Sunday, I went to Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center to donate blood. This was my second donation. My first donation was on January 19 this year (parents' anniversary). Both donations were eventful. First time I donated blood, I fainted twice afterwards. I think that was because I had fasted the day before. After the donation, I did not drink lots of fluids as instructed by the nurses. On June 27th, I was better prepared (learned from my past mistakes). I had a good breakfast and drank plenty of fluids all day so I did not faint. It was the donation process that was eventful.

First, the nurse could not find my veins. The whole process was slower for me because my veins are small. On top of that, the needle stopped withdrawing blood after 5 minutes into the process. The nurse did not want to mess with the needle as it was barely in my arm. Another nurse came by and she tried messing with it, but she also did not want to touch the needle. Then they called another nurse over. I think he was more experienced. He checked to tube to make sure it was not clogged. Then he checked the needle (that was painful). He pushed it a little bit more, and the needle started pumping blood again. Another five to ten minutes and I was done. I have a real nasty bruise now, but it will go away in few days.

They withdrew about a unit (about one pint) of blood. I got a cool T-shirt and 600 points for their online store. I can donate again in August, and I am going back for sure.

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I leave you with today's "10 Sec Read: Kings" on Paulo Coelho's Blog:

The Kingdom of This World

An old hermit was once invited to visit the court of the most powerful king of the day.

“I envy a holy man, who is content with so little,” commented the sovereign.

“I envy Your Majesty, who is content with less than I. I have the music of the celestial spheres, I have the rivers and mountains of the whole wide world, I have the moon and the sun, because I have God in my soul. Your Majesty, however, has only this kingdom.”

The Last Time I Saw You by Elizabeth Berg

This is one of those books where I want to jump up and down and say, "Read it." It was cutely good. The novel is about a 40th high school reunion. There are five main characters: Dorothy Shauman Ledbetter, Pete Decker, Mary Alice Mayhew, Candy Armstrong, and Lester Heseenpfeffer. There are other characters but the story mainly revolves around these characters.

The novel starts with each character discussing the reunion and the reason they are going. It is cute how some characters start acting like teenagers and decide to go to the reunion to "hook up with an old flame." The book then shifts toward the reunion, which starts with the arrival at the venue. The last part of the novel is about characters' lives after the reunion.

The story was cute. The reunion served as a self-awareness retreat for the characters. The characters are portrayed a certain way and the readers can see the development in the characters as the story progresses. I felt that at the end of the novel, the stories of the characters are also wrapped up nicely. I liked the ending. Overall, I enjoyed the entire novel and looked forward to listening to it every time I got in my car.

Secondly, the overall theme of a 40th reunion was an interesting topic. I graduated high school 5 years ago and a 10-year reunion sounds exciting to me. Imagine going back for 40th reunion. Nowadays, it is easier to keep in touch with friends through social networking websites like Facebook, Orkut, MySpace, etc.

Lastly, the book was read by the author. I am a fan of audio books that are read by the author. It gives the authors an opportunity to present the characters exactly how they imagined them. Same goes for Elizabeth Berg. I think she did an excellent job with the audio book, and I really enjoyed listening to it. Just from listening to Berg, I could make out that in the novel, Mary is the calm one, Peter is the impulsive one, Candy is lonely, Lester is satisfied with his life but he is missing something, and Dorothy is like a child.

I highly recommend this book and give it 9.5 out of 10.

This book qualifies for the Audio Book Challenge.

I Won!!!

Booksnob was hosting a Follower Contest and I won!!! I won three Book Thongs.

In celebration of topping 25 followers this week I am having a contest. I am giving away Three BOOK THONGS. Each one will be hand made by me and my children. The winner gets all three unique designs. My kids are super excited about the contest and making the Book Thongs. Good Luck everyone and thanks for being a follower!

I am excited and can't wait to receive them. Whenever I get them, I will post pictures of them.

Thanks Booksnob!

My Second Book Blogger Hop

 
Every Friday Jennifer of Crazy-For-Books hosts The Book Blogger Hop. The Hop is a great way to meet new bloggers and introduce your blog to others. This is my second time entering the hop. Last time I came across many interesting blogs (listed here).

 
For more details, please see Jennifer's post.

 
Reading update:

 
I am currently taking a short break from books. Before the break, I had just started Half Life by Roopa Farooki. As for audio books, I am really missing listening to Audio books. My brother carpools with me to his internship and we listen to the radio. If anyone knows of a good audio book that would interest a teen boy, please leave it in the comments. I don't have a preference, and I am open to listening to any book. Maybe I should just accept the fact that I won't be listening to audio books until August and deal with it, instead of forcing him to listen to audio books :)

 
Happy Blog Hopping!!!

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Update:



I came across some interesting blogs:

Super Mario: BP Oil Spill Edition



No description needed :-)

More Books

My parents returned from India on June 5th. Guess what I got? I got books. I had asked them to bring all the books by Chetan Bhagat. So far, he has written four books:
  • Five Point Someone (Movie: 3 Idiots)
  • One Night @ The Call Center (Movie: Hello)
  • The 3 Mistakes of My Life
  • 2 States
I am super excited about reading these books. I have yet to watch Hello and 3 Idiots and I think I will read the books first and then watch the movies. These books will go on my TBR list because I have couple of books that I would like to read first.

I am currently reading Half Life by Roopa Farooki and Last Time I Saw You (Audio CD) by Elizabeth Berg. Next to read is The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake by Aimee Bender only because it is on hold at the library. I won't be listening to any audio books for a while since my brother and I carpool to work. After this, I will read Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. This book has been on my nightstand for such a long time. This is one of those books that I would like to read without any breaks, and lately I have been taking many breaks while reading a book. For now these books will do. I have other books that I would like to read soon. I want to read Sophie Kinsella's other books, Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich, Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry, and Vish Puri Mysteries by Tarquin Hall. There are just too many books and too little time.

Last time I went to Barnes and Nobles, I saw this really cool bookmark called "50 books to read before you die." I think I will get it next time I go there.

While searching for this bookmark, I came across a really cool blog named Bookmark Kingdom, a blog managed by Vaida. She collects bookmarks from all over the world. I have not had a chance to view them all. I really thought this bookmark was cute. I tried putting the picture on here, but it is too big.

Time to go...I will be back!


As It was Written by Sujatha Hampton


This book has been on my "Reading Now" shelf since February of this year. Due to hectic study schedule, I read about a page a day. After I finished the book, I could not decide what to think about this book. Before I write anything else, here is a short synopsis from B&N:

The epic journey of an Indian-American family which unfolds when men and women, Hindus and Catholics, histories and curses, collide.

 
In McLean, Virginia, Dr. Raman Nair lives a life of abounding satisfaction with his tiny wife, Jaya, and his harem of enormous and beautiful daughters. He has been away from his native Kerala, India for so long that he has happily forgotten the ancient Brahmin curse that follows his family like a black cloud, killing one girl for love in every generation. But his wife hasn’t forgotten, nor has his baby sister, Gita. Suddenly his daughters are up to no good and Dr. Raman Nair doesn’t know which way to turn.
 
Initial attraction to book was due to the cover. I am a sucker for books with cover that had something related to India. Then I read the short synopsis on the inside of the front cover, which made me want to read this book even more.
 
I was very disappointed with the book. I felt the story had so much potential. The story of five sisters and Gita was too much to handle at one time. The story is mainly about two of the five sisters, Veena and Dhanya, Gita, and Omanakumari. Veena and Gita's portions were okay but every time Dhanya's story was mentioned, I cringed. I wanted to skip those portions. However, the way the whole book was formatted, I had to read it. The stories jumped around too much. I felt there was no organization to the book, which made it confusing. The only part that was somewhat organized was when Omanakumari's story was mentioned, but even that became confusing at times. There were bits that I enjoyed, which is why I finished the book. I don't even want to talk about the ending. I think Sujatha Hampton was inspired by M. Night Shyamalan when writing this book. Hopefully everyone gets this reference. I was expecting so much more from this book.
 
I give this book 6 out of 10.
 
So overall, I would not recommend this book; however, if you have spare time, you can pick up this book. It is an easy read. I would not say that I wasted my time reading this book, but I could have read something better. I think this is one of those books, where a week is enough. More than a week is waste of time. This is Sujatha's first book. I would give her another chance and read any books she writes in the future.

The Graveyard Book Movie

Awesome news for all Gaiman fans: The Graveyard Book is going to be a movie. There was a rumor that the project was dead. Neil Gaiman posted this article on his Facebook page last week. Here is a piece of the article related to the book:
The Graveyard Book is being adapted as a live-action feature to be written and directed by Neil Jordan (The Crying Game, The Brave One, Ondine). The story is Gaiman's nod to The Jungle Book where a young boy is raised by the ghostly, ghoulish occupants of a graveyard, instead of animals. It sounds like the project is moving forward the exact same as it was earlier this year. Wayfare Entertaiment, Framestore (the visual effects company) and Gaiman will also produce, and CJ will co-finance the film and distribute in Korea and Japan. "The projects we are developing together meet our shared goal of producing movies for the global audience," Columbus said. "We see this as just the beginning of many terrific movies together." I hope so!
I am too excited and cannot wait for this movie.
 

I finished As It was Written by Sujatha Hampton today in lunch time and will review it soon. I also started The Last Time I Saw You (Audio Book) by Elizabeth Berg this morning.


    

Now back to work, something I get paid to do.

Yay Me!!!!

Yesterday Texas State Board of Public Accountancy (TSBPA) finally posted the scores for the AUD section of the exam. Here is a screen print of what I saw when I logged in:


I passed my third exam. Yay me!!! I am 60% done. I have one CPA exam (30%), an ethics exam (7%), and four hours of ethics CPE (3%) is left. I am hoping and praying (and keeping my fingers crossed) that I pass it. I do not like Tax and that is my last exam. I am so close that I can almost taste it. I have invested one and a half into this. It is time to wrap this up. I am going to steal Carrie's motto:

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…


Now back to the books/work.

Not So Happy Post

There are certain people and things I cannot stand. I HATE people who prey on children. In my opinion, they should not be shown any mercy and should be granted a death penalty. I know this is little too extreme, but I do not think they have any right to ruin anybody's life like that. What prompted this post? Rathore is found guilty and sent to jail.

Background: He was a cop who preyed upon Ruchika, a 14-year old girl (1990). After which, Rathore used his position and power to trouble her family and three years later, Ruchika committed suicide (1993). IBNLive and Times of India are stating that Ruchika (the victim) finally got justice. That is a bunch of BS. She got "justice" after 20 years. The definition of "Justice" for these newspapers is 18 months in jail. 18 MONTHS!!!! 18 months is nothing in comparison to what he did, and I say let him stay there until his last breath. I read the news yesterday and as expressed in this post, it just made me mad. This is not justice. 18-month jail time does not send a strong message to these kinds of people. They will continue to ruin the lives of children and get away with this heinous crime.

Seriously, Indian judicial system needs to reconsider the punishment for crimes such as these. The maximum jail time is 2 years. Only 2 YEARS!!! It is time for some serious changes...

Fun Meme: If....

If...

I borrowed this "If..." meme from Thinking of Thinking who borrowed it from Helen @ Helen's Book Blog. I really had to think about some of these but overall it was fun.

If I was...
a month I'd be February
a day of the week I'd be Friday
a time of the day I'd be Evening

If I was...
a sea animal I'd be a jellyfish
a direction I'd be north
a piece of furniture I'd be a bed
a liquid I'd be lemonade

If I was...
a gemstone I'd be Amethyst
a tree I'd be a palm tree
a tool I'd be a hammer
a kind of weather I'd be a rainy day

If I was...
a musical instrument I'd be a guitar
a color I'd be purple
an emotion I'd be excited
a fruit I'd be watermelon

If I was...
a food I'd be Chhole-Bhature
a material I'd be silk
a scent I'd be lavender
a flavor I'd be vanilla with a drop of chocolate

If I was...
a sound I'd be laughter
an element I'd be water
a mammal I'd be a tiger
a phase of the moon I'd be New Moon

If I was...
a berry I'd be a cherry
a bird I'd be a peacock
a book I'd be Ender's Game (still indecisive...too many to choose from)
a place I'd be a library with a fireplace


Now back to work :)

Book Blogger Hope

This week I am participating in Book Blogger Hope hosted by Jennifer at Crazy for Books. It is a great way to meet new bloggers, find some new blogs to follow and gain some great readers for your own blog. This is my first time participating in this event. I hope that I will find some great blogs to follow!

 
I started this blog with intentions of posting about my life events. Over the time, this blog has steered more toward books with occasional posts about CPA exams, March for babies, and life in general. I love books. I remember one of my first books were Cam Jansen series (a girl with photographic memory). I read mostly fiction and some non-fictions occasionally. I read whatever comes my way except for mystery, sci-fi (Ender Saga is an exception), and romance (few exceptions). I usually just browse the fiction shelves at my local library and see if there is something I like. As for Non-fiction, I enjoyed Outliers (my favorite), Freakonomics, Eat, Pray, Love, and Missiles in Cuba. I also tend to lean more toward books by authors who are Indian or has Indian origins (Jhumpa Lahiri) and if the topic relates to India, and the culture. Right now, my To-Read list has too many books. I read book reviews and if I like the short description, I add the book to my list. That is about it.


Update (5/8/2010): I discovered the following blogs thru the Book Blogger Hope:
It was fun and would love to do it again!

Music for Memory

It is interesting how our minds work. One thing our brain does is associate unrelated things to objects, persons, and music (this one applies to me). This morning on my way to work, our local station was playing "SexyBack" by Justin Timberlake. The association with this song is completely unrelated: drive to my university. Before conclusions are drawn, let me say I was not a wild child in college. I went to class, did my homework, and came back home :). Every time I hear that song, I think of turning left on Middlebrook Dr. and entering the University parking lot.

I enjoy listening to Linkin Park. For some reason, whenever I listen to any of their songs, I think of my Spanish III class in high school. That is going back about 6 years and the songs have nothing to do with Spanish.

Another song is "Wake Up (Make A Move)" by LostProphets, which reminds me of my Calculus class in high school. There are so many more songs and so many memories. Some are related and most are unrelated. This is kind of cool because these are few moments in life I will remember as long as I listen to these songs.

P.S. I am too lazy to get the video of these songs or even link them.

Fun Meme: Book List (100th Post)

Rebecca from Lost in Books is hosting a fun meme: Books You've Read Over and Over and Over. The rules are simple. Make a list of 3 Books You've Read Over and Over and Over and...

Here is my list:


1. Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card
The first time I read this book was in 9th grade and I fell in love. I read it again in college. Again when my brother was reading it. I will pick up this book again sometimes soon. I enjoy it more and more with every read. I admit I could not get into rest of the books of the saga. Nevertheless, I love this book. I did enjoy the parallel book "Ender's Shadow" and looking forward to reading that series. I might also pick up "Ender in Exile" which is a sequel to Ender's Game. (I am little confused as to what Card is trying to accomplish here as "Speaker for the Dead" was part 2 of Ender Saga). I hope they will make the movie in my lifetime because it has been on hold for a long time.

2. The Giver by Lois Lowry
I don't think I can count how many times I have read this book. I read this in 7th grade and read it several times after that. Another book that needs to have a movie. IMDb states the release date as 2011.

3. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Another book that is going to stay with me for a long time. There is something about Gatsby and the society that has attracted millions of readers around the world.

There are many more books but I have to limit myself to three :)


P.S. This is my 100th post. Yay me!

I just had to post this picture.







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