Book Review: The Secret Daughter

I remember the first Desi lit book I read – it was Born Confused by Tanuja Desai Hidier. From then on I went to read books like The Namesake and Interpreter of Maladies by Jhumpa Lahiri and Arranged Marriage by Chitra Divakaruni Banerjee.

Recently, I read The Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda which has been on my list to read for a while. I loved the book. It touched on many various and deep topics such as female infanticide, adoption, and cultural clashes. Despite that, the book felt like a very easy thanks to Gowda’s simple writing style. I also loved that part of the book was based in the Bay Area.

I would definitely recommend people to read The Secret Daughter. I finished it over the course of a few days because I was really drawn to the characters and the story line. It got a bit emotional at certain points, at which I had to stop reading while on the train unless I wanted to be that awkward person on BART (no thanks).

Have you read The Secret Daughter? What did you think? What are you currently reading?

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This and That

It’s been ages since I last updated the blog. The main reason for my lack of posts is the fact that I recently started a new job. I’ve been busy adjusting to a new schedule, the commute, and of course the job itself. I just finished two weeks there and I’m happy to report that I’m loving every minute of it.

When I’m not at work, here are some things I’ve been watching, reading, and listening to.

Watching: Scandal, Thursdays at 10 PM on ABC: Created by Shonda Rhimes of Grey’s Anatomy fame this show is about a crisis management firm in DC. It is loosely based on George H.W. Bush’s crisis aide, Judy Smith, who also dealt with the Monica Lewinsky scandal. It’s a really fast-paced show and I’m loving the fact that the main character is a woman.

Reading: I finished reading Katherine Boo’s Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, death, and hope in a Mumbai undercity. I don’t normally enjoy non-fiction books, but this was an eye-opening look into life in a Mumbai slum. As I was reading it, I had to remind myself that this is not a fiction book and that everything Boo writes about is factual.

Currently I’m reading The Girl Who Played With Fire, the sequel to The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. I’m only a few chapters in but I’ve already deemed it my commute book, rather than the one I read at night before I go to sleep. The subject matter is really dark and disturbing, although it promises to be an interesting mystery/thriller.

Listening: Here are some of my current favorite tracks, which I’ve been listening to on repeat. The beats are so catchy that I have to restrain myself from dancing while on the train or at work!

Justin Bieber’s Boyfriend (Don’t judge!)

Culture Shock ft Nindy Kaur – Save the World

What have you been reading, watching, listening to?

By the way, I recently wrote a guest post on the blog, Lipstick and Politics which you can read here.

Movie Review: The Hunger Games

Via Google Images

Oh Hunger Games, you had me…until the very end.

Let me back up a bit. I tend to be really nitpicky when it comes to books-turned-movies. So before I saw The Hunger Games in theaters, I mentally prepared myself for all the changes that were likely to be made.

And of course, there were plenty of changes. Such as: the mockingjay pin was given to Katniss by her sister, Prim, rather than the mayor’s daughter, Madge, Katniss’ nails weren’t painted, Peeta’s leg wasn’t amputated, and so on. I was willing to overlook all of these little things because I really enjoyed the enhancements that were made to the film.

The book is told from the point of view of Katniss, but the film gives you a well-rounded look at the Games. You get to see President Snow and Seneca Crane talking, Haymitch convincing sponsors, Ceasar Flickman narrating the Games, and my favorite part, a behind the scenes look at how the Games are produced. I thought these additions were a brilliant idea to give the viewers insight into what is going on outside of the arena, while also making it easier to follow for those that were seeing the movie without reading the book.

My biggest issue with the movie came at the very end. Katniss’s affection for Peeta in the arena was mainly for show, and a way for them to get sponsors and ultimately stay alive. In the book, as they are on the train back to District 12, Peeta, who genuinely cares for Katniss, learns of this deception and betrayal. This was such a crucial part of the book and part of the reason why I quickly started reading Catching Fire. It would have made for an amazing finish to the movie as well, instead of the anti-climactic ending that we got.

As with all the other books-turned movies, The Hunger Games movie did not live up to the book. I liked seeing the Capitol, the ridiculous outfits that everyone wore, and the Games/arena itself. I just wish they had spent a bit more time developing Peeta and Katniss’s relationship as it is central to the trilogy, especially in Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

What did you think of the movie?

Weekend Snapshots

The forecast for this weekend was rain, rain, and more rain. But this time I didn’t do what I usually do when it rains.

Instead I went to San Francisco, enjoyed a Thai lunch, and spent the rest of the rainy afternoon in a cozy wine bar. If you had to be out and about in the rain, that was the place to do be. I was obsessed with the sheep-shaped artwork on the walls. So cute, right? I also saw The Hunger Games. I had been waiting for the movie for what seems like the longest time and I plan to share my thoughts in a separate post!

So yes, it was a great weekend despite the weather not cooperating. How was your weekend?

Bucket List: PaleyFest

The stars of Vampire Diaries at Paley Fest 2011. (Courtesy of Google Images)

I don’t have an organized bucket list of things I want to do (I should really get on that) but there are three things I can name off the top of my head: take part in a flash mob, visit Greece, and go to PaleyFest.

(Remember, my nickname of The Walking TV Guide? Yep, my TV addiction is no joke.)

PaleyFest, which is presented by the Paley Center for Media, showcases various television shows with panels. The panels consist of the actors as well as members of the creative team, such as the writers. The event takes place over two weeks in Beverly Hills, California.

This year, some of the shows being featured are Community, Once Upon a Time, Vampire Diaries, Modern Family, and Revenge.

What I find most exciting about PaleyFest is getting the inside scoop on what is to come in these TV shows. The panels fall at an appropriate time, as most shows are currently on hiatus right now (until April..sigh) and so the juicy tidbits being dropped by the cast and crew can hold us over in the meantime.

And although I am not able to attend PaleyFest this year, I can look forward to getting the play by play updates on Twitter as well as watch the livestream. Some of the shows I’m looking forward to catching are: Vampire Diaries, Modern Family, and Revenge. PopSugar, of the Sugar Network is also posting updates on its site.

What’s on your bucket list?

Weekend Snippets

Spotting some spring colors

Taking out all the DVDs of my favorite show, Gilmore Girls, and starting from the beginning

Not pictured: the Chipotle burrito bowl I ate while watching said DVDs…pretty much perfection.

How did you spend your weekend? What do you have planned for this week?

Courage and a Double Feature

Just a few of the movie tickets I’ve collected over the years.

 Our local theater had a 2 for 1 special on Saturday night, showing My Week with Marilyn and The Iron Lady. I absolutely love doing double features and both movies were amazing. I’ve started to read Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos and I’m already obsessed with her style of writing.

Here are some words (or pictures) of wisdom, regarding courage.

(Images courtesy of Pinterest.)