Book Review: Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

Genre: Chick Lit, Humor
Book Name: Everyone Worth Knowing
Author: Lauren Weisberger
Pages: 370
Publication Year: 2005
Publisher: Harper Collins

When you get hold of a book which has two novels combined and enjoy reading the first one, what will you do next? It’s the same author, so of course, one knows what to expect next. So simply, we continue reading the second story too. That’s what happened when I started reading a twin book – The Devil Wears Prada and Everyone Worth Knowing.

A chick-lit through and through, the book has plenty of pages just to bury yourself in after a hectic day in office to unwind. The protagonist hates her banking job, resigns at the spur of the moment, takes up another job in a different vertical altogether and does a fabulous job. Oh, how we all aspire to do the same! But mostly, people just do an MBA to switch career line these days.

However, the characters in this book seem more relatable to our world as compared with The Devil Wears Prada – be it the childhood friendship growing apart with focus on their respective lives, career orientation, office politics, difficult relationships, the one-true-love (laughable) and need to be famous (acknowledged). Think of the book as a light read with not too much drama and you may not be disappointed. Haven’t we all indulged in too-much chocolatey flavor once in a while, even though you know it’s not that good for our health? This book is exactly that. Enjoy!

Book blurb:
Bette gets paid to party.

And she can hardly believe her luck. Running with celebs, gaining VIP access to Manhattan’s hottest clubs and meeting ‘everyone worth knowing’ is a million miles away from her old banking job.

When she turns up in the gossip columns with a notorious British playboy, it delights her publicity-mad new boss. But her family and her friends want to know what happened to the girl who loved bad novels, 80’s music and always had time for them.

Can Bette say goodbye to the glamour and the Gucci and step back into the real world? And where will she find her own prince charming?

About the author:
Lauren Weisberger is the New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada, which was published in forty languages and made into a major motion picture starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. It was announced in 2017 that musician Elton John and Paul Rudnick will adapt The Devil Wears Prada for the stage. Weisberger’s four other novels, Everyone Worth Knowing, Chasing Harry Winston, Last Night at Chateau MarmontRevenge Wears Prada and The Single’s Game, were all top-ten New York Times bestsellers. Her books have sold more than thirteen million copies worldwide. A graduate of Cornell University, she lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children.

Twitter: @LWeisberger
Website: laurenweisberger.com

Read reviews of other books written by Laura on my blog – The Devil Wears Prada.

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger

Genre: Chick Lit, Humor
Book Name: The Devil Wears Prada
Author: Lauren Weisberger
Pages: 360
Publication Year: 2003
Publisher: Harper Collins

Once in a while, you can get tired of reading intellectual books. And voila, you find a book in the corner of your book shelf, totally untouched. And noticing the book title, you simply wish to wallow in a chick lit, just for the pleasure of it. And that, my dear reader, is how I started reading The Devil Wears Prada.

Although I have seen the movie adaptation years back, I somehow still remember the oh-so-typical characters Andrea Sachs and Miranda Priestly and the way Miranda used to call An-dre-aaa. Funny though while reading the book, I could hear the same tone whenever Andrea was called. Yet there were lingering moments where I felt the movie adaptation was better than the book itself.

Let’s come back to the book. It’s a women “fiction” (supposedly) since the author Lauren had worked for the highly esteemed fashion editor Anna Wintour and various articles seem to draw a parallel between both of them and the storyline. The book is like a diary entry set in the fashion world. The same old princess story which we have grown up reading, but now cast in a career world. So, we have a beautiful princess working for Cruella who hates every minute of it. But since she is so career focused, she continues to be in that hated job, since this will fast forward her career by few years. And thus, she does not seem pitiful anymore since it was her choice to focus on her career and never on the family. Also, Andrea seems to be a workaholic but does not forge interest in anything she does.

However, having said that, I really loved reading the book. The book has casual tidbits, easy dialogues, many aspirational fashion pieces one would want to own at whatever cost, and the adrenaline rush when Andrea is scared of the high demands of her boss (which by the way, happens all through the book). Oh, doesn’t this seem a part of our own corporate life! The book made me live the fashion industry vicariously and high demands of so much glitz all the time. Also, the book has a lesson in the end that one always has a choice to change anything in one’s life!

Book blurb:
High fashion, low cunning – and the boss from hell.

When Andrea first sets foot in the plush Manhattan offices of Runway she knows nothing. She’s never heard of the world’s most fashionable magazine, or it’s feared and fawned-over editor, Miranda Priestly.

Soon she knows way too much.

She knows it’s a sacking offense to wear less than a three-inch heel to work – but there’s always a fresh pair of Manolos in the accessories cupboard.

She knows that eight stone is fat. That you can charge anything – cars, manicures, clothese – to the Runway account, but you must never leave your desk, or let Miranda’s coffee get cold. That at 3 am, when your boyfriend’s dumping you because you’re always working and your best friend’s just been arrested, if Miranda phones with her latest unreasonable demand, you jump.

Most of all, Andrea knows that Miranda is a monster boss who makes Cruella de Vil look like a fluffy bunny. But this is her big break, and it’s all going to be worth in the end.

Isn’t it?

About the author:
Lauren Weisberger is the New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Wears Prada, which was published in forty languages and made into a major motion picture starring Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway. It was announced in 2017 that musician Elton John and Paul Rudnick will adapt The Devil Wears Prada for the stage. Weisberger’s four other novels, Everyone Worth Knowing, Chasing Harry Winston, Last Night at Chateau MarmontRevenge Wears Prada and The Single’s Game, were all top-ten New York Times bestsellers. Her books have sold more than thirteen million copies worldwide. A graduate of Cornell University, she lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children.

Twitter: @LWeisberger
Website: laurenweisberger.com

Rating: 8/10

Read reviews of other books by Lauren Weisberger on my blog – Everyone Worth Knowing.

Book Review: The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Rozabal Line by Ashwin Sanghi

Genre: Thriller
Book Name: The Rozabal Line
Authors: Ashwin Sanghi
Pages: 405
Publication Year: 2007
Publisher: Westland Ltd

I can’t believe what I just read! I am still trying to make sense of the book even after multiple attempts at reading by cross referencing pages back and then to the current one. In between, there is a plethora of characters with chronology totally being murdered! Not able to understand what I am talking about? Oh probably, then you are one of the prospective readers who just chanced upon this post and wondering whether to go ahead buying or reading. If you have already purchased, be a tsundoku (one who hoards the books but does not read). With each paragraph, the years change and not just by a few years, but long bygone eras – BC and ADs included.

I have read previous books of Ashwin Sanghi and I had liked those (barring Private India which was just an average read). However, with this book which is being popularized as Da Vinci Code of India, I am left to question myself whether when I had read the latter 8 years back, was I really able to understand a single word?

Probably people with more knowledge of religious history or history in general may be better able to relate to since this book was one of the bestsellers. But for me, it was totally a no read. And I am usually not so negative about any book.

Hoping that when I pick up this book after years, I give a positive feedback then. Keep watching my blog for review of another of Ashwin Sanghi’s book – The Sialkot Saga.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
A cardboard box is found on a shelf of a London library. When the mystified librarian opens it, she screams before she falls unconscious to the floor.

Within the labyrinthine recesses of the Vatican, a beautiful assassin swears she will eliminate all who do not believe in her twisted credo.

An elite army of thirteen calling itself the Lashkar-a-Talatashar has scattered around the globe. The fate of its members curiously resembles that of Christ and his Apostles. Their agenda is Armageddon.

A Hindu astrologer spots a conjunction of the stars and nods to himself in grim realization of the end of the world. In Tibet, a group of Buddhist monks’ searches for a reincarnation, much in the way their ancestors searched Judea for the Son of God. In strife torn Kashmir, a tomb called Rozabal holds the key to a riddle that arises in Jerusalem and gets answered at Vaishno Devi.

An American priest has disturbing visions of people familiar to him, except that they seem located in other ages. Induced into past-life regression, he goes to India to piece together the violent images. Shadowing his every move is the Crux Decussata Permuta, a clandestine society, which would rather wipe out creation than allow an ancient secret to be disclosed.

In The Rozabal Line, a thriller swirling between continents and centuries, Ashwin Sanghi traces a pattern that curls backward to the violent birth of religion itself.

About the author:
Ashwin Sanghi ranks among India’s highest selling English fiction authors and is writing since 2004. He has written several bestsellers (The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant, The Krishna Key) and a New York Times bestselling crime thriller with James Patterson. Included by Forbes India in their Celebrity 100 and winner of the Crossword Popular Choice, Ashwin has recently also penned a non-fiction title ’13 Steps to Bloody Good Luck’.
Website: www.ashwinsanghi.com
Twitter: @ashwinsanghi
Email: mail@ashwinsanghi.com

Read on my blog – reviews of other Ashwin Sanghi’s books – Chanakya’s Chant and Private India.

Rating: 2/10

Book Review: Nancy Drew Mardi Gras Masquerade by Carolyn Keene

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Nancy Drew Mardi Gras Masquerade by Carolyn Keene

Genre: Mystery
Book Name: Nancy Drew #28
Mardi Gras Masquerade
Author: Carolyn Keene
Pages: 144
Publication Year: 1988
Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

My early teenage years were spent in reading Nancy Drew series from which I gradually grew up into Hercule Poirot series by Agatha Christie. Those were the days when there wasn’t a Nancy Drew book in my school library that I had not devoured in our weekly book pickings. And on a trip, when I got hold of this book, it was like visiting a paradise – coming home again.

Nancy Drew series is not that complicated a read. However, any teenage girl would love the character of Nancy who can practically solve any problem which even grown-ups cannot or would simply prefer ignoring. With the theme of the visited place that night on the basis of Masquerade, getting hold of this book prior to start of the event seemed a perfect match. And I was surprised when someone I knew mentioned that Carolyn Keene is not actually an author but a pen name with which many other writers have written. It’s like breaking the childhood dream brick by brick. Just kidding!

As for the review for this particular book,  I somehow still liked the plot for its predictable storyline, with the only constraint being that it took me not less than an hour to complete. I will of course not prefer to read more of these now, since it has not much to ponder over once completed. Not even anything relatable in life! However, I will recommend it as a book series for beginners – to later grow into Sherlock Holmes category.

Book blurb:
What could be more fun than a masked Mardi Gras ball at a so-called haunted mansion? George brings her digital camera, insisting that she’s going to bust some ghosts. I’m just looking forward to a night of dressing up and dancing with Ned and my friends.

Soon the fun turns freaking, though — things go haywire and everyone starts to wonder if the ghost stories could actually be true. But when Deirdre Shannon’s antique tiara is snatched, I’m certain the crook is a guest, not a ghoul.

About the author:
Carolyn Keene is the pseudonym of the authors of the Nancy Drew mystery stories and The Dana Girls mystery stories, both produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. In addition, the Keene pen name is credited with the Nancy Drew spin-off, River Heights and the Nancy Drew Notebooks.

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk by Sudha Murty

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk by Sudha Murty

Genre: Short Story, Non Fiction
Book Name: The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk
Author: Sudha Murty
Pages: 212
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Penguin

Sudha Murty has a distinct flair of writing, which is not so easy to replicate. I am not going to write something new for another of her book which I have not already mentioned in my previous reviews of her books – Dollar Bahu and Something Happened on the Way to Heaven. Like other books, The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk is relatable to our everyday life but which we fail to notice, which by the way reminds me of that musical piece by Joshua Bell who played incognito on a metro station.

Sudha Murty’s books simply wants to convey to us to be attentive of our surroundings, not come to harsh conclusions till we know the other side of the story and continue learning from our fellow beings. By the way, this book again is a collection of short stories which you can read at your own pace or start from any chapter. Great penmanship and a must read for Sudha Murty’s fans!

Book blurb:
Extraordinary stories about ordinary peoples lives by the inimitable Sudha Murty.

Over the years, Sudha Murty has come across some fascinating people whose lives make for interesting stories and have astonishing lessons to reveal. Take Vishnu, who achieves every material success but never knows happiness; or Venkat, who talks so much that he has no time to listen. In other stories, a young girl goes on a train journey that changes her life forever; an impoverished village woman provides bathing water to hundreds of people in a drought-stricken area; a do-gooder ghost decides to teach a disconsolate young man Sanskrit; and in the title story, a woman in a flooded village in Odisha teaches the author a life lesson she will never forget.

About the author:
Sudha Murty was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. She did her MTech in computer science, and is now the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written nine novels, four technical books, three travelogues, one collection of short stories, three collections of non-fiction pieces and two books for children.

Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages and have sold over three lakh copies around the country. She was the recipient of the R.K. Narayan’s Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006.

Rating: 9/10

Imagine

For such as you and I
Anyone we can imagine
We can be anything in reality
And not in pretense

For such as you and I
Any existence we can support
If only we imagined the same
At the same time

For such as you and I
Why can we not be free
And not be so small
And not so constrained either

For such as you and I
That I do not know
What we will become
And I fear I cannot guess!

Book Review: Something Happened on the Way to Heaven by Sudha Murty

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk by Sudha Murty

Genre: Short Story, Non Fiction
Book Name: Something Happened on the Way to Heaven
Editor: Sudha Murty
Pages: 224
Publication Year: 2014
Publisher: Penguin India

Authors (20 Authors contributing 20 Short Stories): Bhaswar Mukherjee, Saurabh Kumar, Dhrishti Dasgupta, Supriya Unni Nair, Satyarth Nayak, Jimmy Mathew, Vibha Lohani, Rajesh Pooppotte, Swaha Bhattacharya, Rishi Vohra, Neelamani Sutar, Subhobrata, Pushkar Pande, Nalini Chandran, Praveen P. Gopinath, Neha Garg, Ila Gautam, Tulika Dubey, Shantanu Bhowmick, and Tapan Mukherjee.

Although the stories are merely edited by Sudha Murty, they will not make you feel that it is something other than part and parcel of her life. For those who have previously read her other books, there is nothing to be worried about, since all the stories encompass the humane nature across the walks of life very similar to what Sudha Murty has written till now.

Something Happened on the Way to Heaven: 20 Inspiring Real-Life Stories leaves you feeling good about people and yourself, in general. You may or may not remember any story, but it will feel like those short stories/poems that you had read in your school with an aim to do good in the world, come what may. A collection of stories of ordinary people (common man), can be considered as a short summary for this book, and I will liken it to the works by R. K. Narayan.

Book blurb:
The inspiring true stories of the interesting people who inhabit the pages of Sudha Murtys books leave an indelible impression on us. But the books are able to chronicle the stories of only the men and women Mrs. Murty has actually come across herself in the course of her social work. There must be so many more wonderful stories that many others have to share. Something Happened on the Way to Heaven is a collection of twenty such memorable true life stories. Handpicked by Sudha Murty from a contest run by Penguin, they capture the hope, faith, kindness and joy that life is full of, even as we make our way through the daily grind. Moving and uplifting, this is an anthology that will engross and delight every reader who believes in the goodness of the human heart.

About the author:
Sudha Murty was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. She did her MTech in computer science, and is now the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written nine novels, four technical books, three travelogues, one collection of short stories, three collections of non-fiction pieces and two books for children.

Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages and have sold over three lakh copies around the country. She was the recipient of the R.K. Narayan’s Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006.

Read reviews of Sudha Murty’s other books on my blog: Dollar Bahu and The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk.

Rating: 8/10

Book Review: Harry Potter and The Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Harry Potter and The Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky

Genre: Fan Fiction
Book Name: Harry Potter and The Methods of Rationality
Author: Eliezer Yudkowsky
Pages: 1983
Publication Year: 2010-2015

Fan fictions are not always interesting since they are derived from the main storyline that the author would have spent ages working on the plot. However, we have grown up reading Harry Potter (let us discount the last book – Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and forget it altogether) and since there is not any book being released in future, one must feel happy with whichever good fan fiction book one gets theirs hands on. Harry Potter and The Methods of Rationality is one such book which every HP fan must read (especially those who think Harry was an idiot most of the times).

Think of Harry as spending a happy childhood, more ingrained into the methods of scientific experiments and trying to work on magic. It is like a fabulous combination. You would know all the characters but yet they will behave so differently that the plot will seem like a parallel world from what J K Rowling wrote. The new story now has Hermoine as the heroine (still super intelligent), Malfoy still evil but open to rational thinking, Severus still the same but less evil, Minerva more meek, Dumbledore as a question mark personality, etc etc.

Some paragraphs are just too funny to ignore. Refer glimpse below:

Professor McGonagall turned into a cat…
Harry was breathing in short gasps. His Voice came out choked. “You can’t DO that!”
“It’s only a Transfiguration,” said Professor McGonagall. “An Animagus transformation, to be exact.”
“You turned into a cat! A SMALL cat! You violated Conservation of Energy! That’s just not an arbitrary rule, it’s implied by the form of the quantum Hamiltonian! Rejecting it destroys unitarity and then you get FTL signaling! And cats are COMPLICATED! A human mind can’t just visualize a whole cat’s anatomy and, and all the cat biochemistry, and what about the neurology? How can you go on thinking using a cat-sized brain?”
Professor McGonagall’s lips were twitching harder now. “Magic.
“Magic isn’t enough to do that! You’d have to be a god!”

However, the book gets tedious in between since the logic becomes too complicated and the chapters a drag. It becomes inexplicable by even the standards of a child prodigy, which by the way here is Harry Potter himself. And the place where Harry refers to science as being better than magic, yes, hold on to that thought and welcome the realism!

Book blurb:
Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality is a work of alternate-universe Harry Potter fan-fiction wherein Petunia Evans has married an Oxford biochemistry professor and young genius Harry grows up fascinated by science and science fiction. When he finds out that he is a wizard, he tries to apply scientific principles to his study of magic, with sometimes surprising results.

About the author:
Eliezer Yudkowsky is an Artificial Intelligence theorist who also writes on the topic of human rationality. He co-founded the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, a non-profit devoted to research and advocacy on the topics of Artificial General Intelligence, self-improving AI, and superintelligence. Yudkowsky was one of the founding directors of the World Transhumanist Association. He previously blogged on human rationality at the econblog Overcoming Bias and now writes at the community blog Less Wrong, which have together received over 7 million pageviews. Yudkowsky has appeared on the BBC, the History Channel and the Discovery Channel; and has presented at popular, academic, and government conferences and workshops.

Email: yudkowsky@gmail.com
Website: yudkowsky.net, hpmor.com

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Genre: Classics, Romance
Book Name: Pride and Prejudice
Author: Jane Austen
Pages: 373
Publication Year: 2013 (first published 1813)
Publisher: Harper Collins Publishers Ltd

No words are needed to describe Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen. It is an evergreen book (published in 1800s and still very popular), not very ambitious and was written during Regency period.

The book is cast in a chronological timeframe (as I have read in many articles, lovers of books usually prefer books written in opposite way – to and fro as per the need which stimulates their thinking capability). However, the background is described so eloquently that you can hear the characters speaking out loud in their typical manners. Of course, it helped since I had seen the Bollywood version of the movie, read the book previously and seen the Hollywood movie in that particular order. The re-reading was still charming to say the least.

Do read this classic. It needs to be read at least once in your lifetime, if not already done so! But for ardent supporters of feminism, do avoid. And unromantic people can skip a few pages in between, but they will still be able to understand the story.

Book blurb:
It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

Austen’s best-loved tale of love, marriage and society in class-conscious Georgian England still delights modern readers today with its comedy and characters. It follows the feisty, quick-witted Elizabeth Bennet as her parents seek to ensure good marriages for her and her sisters in order to secure their future. Through the irrepressible characters of Mr Collins and Mrs Bennet and the sensitivities and nuances of the relationship between Darcy and Elizabeth, Austen’s skill and artistry as a writer shines.

About the author:
Born in 1775, Jane Austen published her many novels anonymously. Her work was not widely read until the late nineteenth century, and her fame grew from then on. Known for her wit and sharp insight into social conventions, her novels about love, relationships, and society are more popular year after year. She has earned a place in history as one of the most cherished writers in English Literature.

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: Kalayug by Anurag Tripathi

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Kalayug by Anurag Tripathi

Genre: Crime Thriller
Book Name: Kalayug
Author: Anurag Tripathi
Pages: 268
Publication Year: 2016
Publisher: Rupa Publications

Who is the hunter? And who exactly is the hunted? This book Kalayug by Anurag Tripathi seeks to track when exactly the hunter becomes the hunted.

The novel captures the essence of the genre very well by rhyming into the current psyche of Indian readers (most made famous by Ravi Subramanian). Here, by genre, I am referring to the fiction on the banking industry. The story is based on the art industry, where interestingly the investment banker (IB) is able to find the loophole of unregulated industry, just like the refinancing of mortgage industry, which in the end collapsed because of too much greed.

The cover pic of the book will entice you to pick it up – glitter glossy starry world, more unbecoming in the darkness of night where the real traits of the person comes to the fore. With the book detailing on history, nuances and close knit circle of the art industry, you just cannot say no to this one!

And it’s one thriller which ended on an unexpected note, unlike the typical Indian fiction novels. So buckle up your belts and get ready to embark on an interesting art + IB journey.

Book blurb:
When Jay Malhotra sets out on an adventure to manipulate the unregulated art market of the Navaratnas, he unknowingly sets into motion a chain of events that have the potential to destroy the very foundation of the art industry in India.

Set against the backdrop of the transformation of the art society in India into an industry, Kalayug follows the struggles and exploits of Jay Malhotra as he navigates through the mercurial world of art, dominated by its nexus of powerful dealers, experts and gallery owners. With a 360 -degree overview of this now-booming industry, Kalayug is a fast-paced thriller that will leave you asking for more.

About the author:
Anurag Tripathi is an alumnus of the Indian School of Business with a course in Advanced Creative Writing from The University of Oxford, Department for Continuing Education. An erstwhile investment banker, his deal-making pursuits and entrepreneurial ventures have given him key insights into the working of corporate business houses. He lives in Paris along with his wife. Both are avid divers, who like travelling and exploring the world lesser known.

Twitter: @Authoranuragtri
Website: www.anuragtripathi.in

Rating: 9/10
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