Book Review: The Hunger Games

I finally finished the Hunger Games trilogy and it was amazing.

It’s hard to describe what the books are exactly about without giving away the story. The genre is dystopian literature. It reminded me of a mix of The Handmaid’s Tale and Harry Potter. The former because of the dystopian elements and the latter because of the story and the world created by the author, Suzanne Collins.

While the main character, Katniss, did get on my nerves at times it was nice to have a strong, capable female heroine unlike Bella Swan.

A fair warning: the trilogy is highly addictive. Immediately after finishing one book, I just had to buy the next and so on.

The movie based on the first book is releasing next year. I cannot wait, but I hope it doesn’t have the same fate as most books turned into movies do.

Here is the trailer:

Have you read The Hunger Games? What did you think?

May the odds be ever in your favor. 

My love for fusion

I absolutely love anything that is a fusion of Indian and American styles. I can’t really explain why, other than that it is so quintessentially me.

I have just as many garba/bhangra/Hindi film tracks on my iPhone as I do Britney, Maroon 5, and Nicki Minaj. I enjoy chaat just as much as I love In-N-Out. My Netflix queue consists of Hindi movies and Gossip Girl. Fusion is just who I am.

Here are my favorite fusions in dance, music, and food.

Dance

I discovered this video a few months ago via Facebook and have yet to tire from it. The classical song selection remixed and paired with hip hop is brilliant. It doesn’t hurt that the dancers are amazing. My favorite part is in the first song when the beat kicks in. So, so good!

Music

This mash up of Nicki Minhaj’s Super Bass and Mission Kashmir’s Bumbro is my current jam. I first heard this song featured on the Curry Smugglers (who are awesome! Check them out.) and I was instantly hooked.

Food

Okay, I love food so after much debating I’ve decided that my favorite Indian-American fusion food is tandoori pizza. Pizza is amazing by itself, but tandoori pizza adds such a kick that it takes pizza up a few notches. Besides don’t pizzas called paneer tikka or mango chaat make your mouth water?

Some of my other fusion favorites:

I found this cake on Pinterest and immediately repinned it with the caption “My future wedding cake”. Jokes aside, I love the mehendi-like designs on these cakes. They look almost too pretty to eat.

There is no better Indian-American fusion book than The Namesake. This is the book that started the Desi lit genre. It’s one of my all-time favorite books and it’s what cemented Jhumpa Lahiri as one of my favorite authors.

Do you like fusion? Why or why not? What are some of your favorite things in fusion? (It doesn’t have to be only Indian American fusion.) I’d love to hear your thoughts!

PS – I thought it interesting to note that I was inspired to write this blog post during this morning’s work out. Don’t you love it when inspiration strikes at the unlikeliest of times? I sure do. 🙂

Historical Fiction

I’m currently reading Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns) which is a mix of her memoir and a compilation of essays about her life. I’m not really into non-fiction books, but Kaling is one of the few South Asian women on television these days, and she’s hilariously brilliant so I had to support.

However, in recent years my favorite genre has been historical fiction (with a particular focus on South Asian history). I love history and I love stories, so it’s the best mix of both worlds. Two of my favorite books are Beneath the Marble Sky and Veil of Roses. 

Beneath the Marble Sky, by John Shors, takes place during the Mughal Empire and the building of the Taj Mahal. I enjoyed reading about the richness of the Indian culture at that time. The fiction aspect deals with Emperor Shah Jahan’s daughter, who falls in love with the architect of the Taj Mahal.

Veil of Roses, by Laura Fitzgerald, tells the story of a young Iranian woman who comes to America with the hope of starting a new life. It was so interesting to read about life in Iran is so restricted and what the Ayatollah is like.

Another good read is The Twentieth Wife, by Indu Sundaresan.

Next I plan to read Partitions, a novel written by my friend’s husband about the India-Pakistan partition.

Do you have a favorite historical fiction book? What genre do you enjoy reading?

Book Review: The Lovely Bones

I picked up The Lovely Bones at a Borders going out of business sale for $3 about a month ago. I was always a little hesitant to buy the book because I thought the subject matter was too depressing. For those that don’t know, The Lovely Bones is told from the point of view of a 13 year old girl who was brutally murdered. She looks down on her family and friends on Earth as they attempt to grieve and also find her killer.

I started it the night I got it and I’ve yet to finish. Normally, I am a fast reader and usually have to pace myself to not finish the book in a matter of days. I’ve never not finished a book, even if I really disliked it.

The plot of the book is definitely bold and innovative. I think the main reason I don’t like The Lovely Bones is because of the author, Alice Sebold’s writing style. Something about it doesn’t mesh well with me. There are so many characters; the book jumps from one to the other so abruptly I have a hard time keeping track.

I am really disappointed as I’ve heard great things about this book. There was even a movie based off of it.

I will give it my best try to finish reading it, but I can’t give any guarantees.

I also picked up Passages: 24 Modern Indian Stories at the Borders sale. It contains work by Jhumpa Lahiri (my favorite author), Vikram Seth, Salman Rushdie, and so on..I am always interested in reading works by Indian authors, so I can’t wait to start it.

Has there ever been a book that you just couldn’t finish? What book was it and why?

E-Books vs Real Books

It’s no secret that I love to read. Ever since I was little, I’ve spent at least 20 to 30 minutes reading before bed. It started with Berenstain Bears and Clifford to Sweet Valley High and the Baby Sitter’s Club. Now it’s grown into books like Half the Sky, Last Night at Chateau Marmont (both which are reviewed, respectively, here and here) and the most recent Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants novel, Sisterhood Everlasting.

So as you can see, I’ve grown up loving the smell and feel of an actual book. But last December, I ordered an Amazon Kindle. And you know what? I don’t regret my decision.

Here are just some of the reasons why:

My heaven.

  • I loathe buying hardcover books, so it was always a test to my patience to wait for the paperback. (Except for Harry Potter
     books, those are all in hardcover.)  Now with the kindle, I never have to wait.
  • Books are heavy! Growing up I’ve spent entire summers in India, the Middle East, and Singapore. My parents were never too pleased to have to lug mine and my brother’s books across the county. With the Kindle, I no longer have a carry on bag that causes me (or my dad) ridiculous back pain at the end of the journey.
  • It’s so sleek and pretty! Yes, I know this is superficial, but it’s true. I also found a very cute, hot pink case for it.
  • Once you get over the initial cost of buying the e-book device, the books are actually cheaper. You can even get some of the classics for free! Also, there is a way to loan books between Kindle users (I’m not sure about any other e-book devices).
  • I can’t believe this is so low on my list, but e-books are environmentally friendly.
That being said, I am very sad to hear about all these bookstores like Borders and Barnes and Nobles closing. Some of my best memories are sitting in the cafe, eating a warm chocolate chip cookie, and reading a book from cover to cover.
So which do you prefer? A real book or an e-book? Why or why not?

I love pretty things.

Whenever I get stressed or bored, I look at pretty pictures online. It could be of an awesome outfit, a delectable dessert/dish, a wonderfully decorated room or a beach. They all serve as great distractions from whatever issues are occupying my mind and my mood is instantly changed. Well, now enter Pinterest.

Pinterest is site where you can find and share beautiful pictures that you come across on the internet. It could be anything from home

Bliss.

decor, wedding/party planning, food & desserts, to exotic locales. You can then “re-pin” the pictures you see and share them with your friends. It’s a great tool for anyone planning a wedding, re-decorating their house, or looking for inspiration on what to cook for an upcoming dinner party.

Log on to Pinterest and request an invite. (It doesn’t take long- I requested one this afternoon and got an invite just an hour ago.)

You can view my board here. They are still barren as I am just getting started. And if any of you are on it, add me!

Another website I saw today and loved (courtesy of my friend Pari) is Bookshelf Porn. For anyone who is a bookworm and loves pretty pictures like myself, this site is like heaven. It showcases all the best bookshelves from all over the world. I am in lust. I cannot wait to have an awesome bookshelf in my future house (along with a fantastic view of the ocean, of course).

Half the Sky

I came across this quote today which I loved:

“Submit to a daily practice…Keep knocking and the joy inside will eventually open a window.” – Rumi

I’m hoping that using this blog as my “daily practice”  will help me in many ways.

Also, came across this touching article about India’s unwanted girls. A month ago I finished reading Half the Sky, which was such an eye-opening book. It talks about the oppression women face across the world.

I’ve lived a pretty sheltered life. Don’t get me wrong: I know terrible things happen in the world, but I’ve never read about them in such vivid detail.

I would highly recommend Half the Sky to everyone (women and men alike) to read! I’ve never had a book change my world view on things until I read it. Honestly, I’m not one to make rape jokes regardless (i.e. “Oh that exam just raped me”) but after reading some horrific stories, I don’t think I ever will!  Just as there is a campaign to stop using the word “gay” synonymous with stupid or lame, I think the same should be done for rape jokes.

I cannot even begin to fathom the pain (emotionally and physically) that so many girls in the developing world go through on a daily basis. I truly commend Nicholas Kristof and Sherry WuDunn for writing such a book, bringing the plight of these young girls and women to the forefront of the news, and more importantly being their voice in this world.

What was one book that completely changed your worldview?

Anyway, good moments:

– Spending time with my baby niece. She is absolutely the cutest and funniest thing. I love that I finally have a baby that is related to me and also lives close by so I can see her fairly often.

-Shopping and eating yummy falafels.

– 3 days until I’m on the East Coast! So excited for my trip. It’ll be nice to get away and experience a change of scene for a while.