I am an avid reader and am mostly never without a book in my hands. Reading is my pleasure, stress-reliever and a source of great happiness to me. Hence, I don’t like to set a target of the number of books that I will read. That takes away the pleasure of reading for me and makes it a task instead of something that I enjoy.
2017 was a very eventful year for me as far as reading was concerned. I was introduced to a lot of genres and different types of books, thanks to a book group I am in on Facebook. It has really broadened my horizons and made reading even more fun and interesting for me.
The latest Indispire topic #Books2017 is a topic I had to write on. I have been introduced to an author I had never read earlier – Kristin Hannah. She is an American author who has won many awards for her books. A lot of her books revolve around the incidents that happened during World War II. The book written by her that really had a deep impact on my mind and affected me profoundly was Winter Garden.
The story starts with telling you about two sisters who are as different from each other as chalk and cheese. One stays at home to take care of her children and the family apple orchard and the other is a famous photo journalist, travelling all over the world. The two sisters are almost estranged from each other due to a very strained childhood with an emotionally unavailable mother, even though they had a very loving father.
The two women come together again when their beloved father falls ill and face their cold and unapproachable mother(Anya) again. The only connection that they have with their mother is a Russian fairy tale that she told her daughters at night sometimes, though always incomplete. On his deathbed, the father extracts a promise from their mother that the fairy tale will be told till the end this time. With this begins the journey into Anya’s past in Leningrad during the World War, five decades ago.
The fairy tale will tell you all – who Anya was, what she experienced in life, the truth behind her cold behaviour. You will be introduced to the completely raw, exposed face of Anna. The story will have you crying, break your heart, but don’t stop reading it. The end of the story is totally worth it. It will surprise you, warm your heart and make you cry again. This book is a must must read. This book was definitely my best read of 2017.
I was 11 or 12 years old when I came across her book in the library. I was entering my teens, going through the confusion of the desire to grow up and wanting to remain a child. Her book felt like a guidebook that I could identify with and it stayed with me in all my teen years till adulthood. Even today, the book is one of my favourites. The book is Little Women and the author is Louisa M Alcott. It was her birth anniversary on 29th November.
She was a woman well before her times and her books reflected that. Little Women is a book set in the 1800’s and is the story of four sisters and their journey of growing up from little girls to grown women, their trials and tribulations, their happy and sad experiences. It is a book ahead of its times, it shows a mother who teaches her daughters to be happy, contented and accomplished women whose only aim in life should not be to get a rich husband. She teaches them that a marriage should be based on love and not on material possessions. This book is set in the 1800’s where women were taught that marriage was the ultimate goal of a woman, this book has a mother who tells her daughters that she would rather see them as single, contented women rather than running around looking for husbands or marrying for the wrong reasons.
This book is autobiographical and has many incidents from Louisa May Alcott’s real life. The other refreshing part of the book is that she shows men as real human beings who cry, laugh, feel emotions and are sensitive. The book also shows the beauty of family life, celebrating togetherness and small moments making a home full of love which is better than a big house full of riches and all the luxuries.
This book is my guide and support even today and my go to feel good book and will be forever. I will pass it on to my nieces and daughters, if I ever have any and it will be their lifelong guidebook as it has been for me.
From my childhood, I have simply been fascinated by the moon. It is a love affair that is forever. There is something about the looking at the moon in the night sky that soothes me, lets me forget all troubles and tensions for a while and takes me to another world. Hence, every time there is a Supermoon announcement, I am all excited. 14th November 2016 was one more such day. Somehow, every time I miss out on the perfect photograph. However, this time I was determined. It took many attempts with my simple digital camera but I got the perfect picture.
About six month back, I have added a new author to my list of favourite authors. Her name is Kristin Hannah. I have read many of her books but the book that left me speechless is Winter Garden. It is a book that touched me to the core and left me teary eyed by the end. What an amazing way to weave a story! I have read so many books that it rarely happens that I just can’t wait to know what happens in the end. With Winter Garden, I couldn’t put it down till I completed it.
Synopsis of the story
Anya has a warm relationship with her husband but had always been a cold and distant mother to their two daughters, Meredith and Nina and they have no clue why. The only time she came alive and really connected with her daughters is while narrating a fairy tale, till an incident happens and Anya stops narrating the fairy tale to her daughters. They grow up and Nina moves away to become a journalist while Meredith stays near her parents after marriage. It was only when their father dies and has a last wish for his daughters that the sisters come back together to fulfill his wish.
The wish is – To get their mother to complete the fairy tale. A very silly wish, you’ll say. But it has a whole story full of sadness, tears and a heart-wrenching truth. It is a journey of two daughters getting to know their mother and a woman’s journey of accepting her past and forgiving herself.
This is one book that’s a must read for everyone, irrespective of the gender and whether they love reading or not.
I started reading as soon as I could recognize words, thanks to my father who instilled the love of reading in me. I have read many books that have touched, made me cry, inspired and encouraged me. But there is only one author who has managed to do all this. Her name is J.K Rowling and the books are her Harry Potter series.
Harry Potter is a boy who has led a very ordinary mundane existence till he reaches the age of 11 years and discovers that he is no ordinary boy, but a wizard. His destiny is extraordinarily intertwined with the greatest wizard of all time who has gone on the path of evil. It is a story of growing up, coming of age and facing your biggest fears. It is a 7-book series in which Harry Potter has the dangerous mission of defeating the evil Voldemort.
Friendship, courage, love, leadership, team spirit are the important lessons that inspire you in the series. This book is a must read for everyone, irrespective of the age.
Also, not only do i admire J.K Rowling as an author, but she is also a strong and gutsy lady. After her separation from her husband, she was extremely poor and had an infant daughter to care for. She was living on state benefits while writing the first Harry Potter book. She had no idea how she would survive the coming years. After she finished writing the book, her publisher submitted the book to 12 publishing houses and it was rejected by all of them. In spite of all the hardships, she didn’t stop believing in her book or give up. Eventually the book was published by Bloomsbury and the rest we know is history. She is the perfect example of believing in one’s dreams.
I had walked into a Crossword outlet and was just browsing around. Suddenly, this title in the New Releases section caught my attention and I got interested in it. The name of the book – Second Chance at Love by Ruchita Misra. I just picked up the book on a whim and it was a complete impulse buy. Did I know it would be a journey with two characters I would fall in love with? No, not in the least.
Bindiya Saran is a cheerful lively girl, but with a troubled past. Samar ‘Satan’ Chauhan is the strict corporate professional whom no one can please, with an even more troubled past. Their worlds collide when they start working on a project together. And they get what they thought they would never get: a second chance at love. But, little do they know that they have a storm brewing that could separate them forever.
I loved the book from the first page to the last. The characters are shown as real people with real faults, they are endearingly human. The story is told in a beautiful and simplistic manner. Each character has an important part in the story and they are etched into the story beautifully. Samar and Bindiya touched my heart with the real, genuine human beings they are and I identified with them. After a long time, I cried while reading a book.
This book is totally a must read for everyone.
I have always been interested in creative pursuits. Recently, I developed an interest in learning how to make chocolates. I started with learning how to make plain chocolates. This was my first attempt.
I tried many different shapes and earned a lot of praise from people after they tried my chocolates. One day, I came across chocolates with fillings. I had eaten them earlier, but now when I saw them I was really keen on learning how they are made. One day, I saw a post on Facebook in one of the groups I am a part of. The lady taught chocolates with fillings. I went to her classes and learnt how to make them and I knew I was hooked for life. I learnt many flavours like Pinacolada filling, Truffle with Liquer, Marzipan, Hazelnut, Peppermint. I made them myself later in different designs and colours.
My nieces, like all young girls, are big Disney Princesses fans. So I made these chocolates specially for them.
I made these chocolates for my colleagues and friends in office. These are in Mint Chocolate Ganache flavour.
This is something I enjoy so much that I would love to make this a profession. It is so much fun. What could be better than making a profession out of something you love doing?