Category Archives: Uncategorized

Four “Chef” Autobiographies You Must Read

Ticker Eats the World

RAG_0192

Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White, Anthony Bourdain, Joe Bastianich are but some of the “celebrity chefs” rotating their presence on our TV screens right now. They’ve changed the way we cook and have made chefs into rock-stars of an international level. Gordon Ramsay, probably the most “visible” amongst the lot – my 8-year-old when asked to do a one page biography on someone famous chose him – has been the judge of Masterchef US for a few years now and has two restoration series wherein he travels to different parts of America helping people find their spark back in running their restaurants and/or hotels. Marco Pierre White is a guest judge on Masterchef Australia and Joe Bastianich till last season was with Masterchef US but as far as I know he will be hosting the Italian version of the show from now on. Anthony Bourdain is a well known travel…

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Mumbaistan: 3 Explosive Crime Thrillers

mumbaistanWhen I realized that Mumbaistan was written by the same Piyush Jha who had made the film Chalo America, the DVD of which I had bought and watched last week, I took it as a good sign. There is no denying that Piyush Jha presents three cinematically explosive crime thrillers in this tiny anthology of stories all of which have the city of Mumbai in common. His writing style is simple and detailed and although he does, like many Indians writing in English, use Hindi curse words to bring certain genuineness to the story, something I personally detest, he doesn’t overdo their usage, keeping it to the bare minimum.

An easy and quick read, Mumbaistan unfortunately gets too predictable after the very first story. The author deserves credit for presenting stories that are without a doubt Bollywood-ish and do have a number of filmy clichés, but simultaneously also have hints of originality, colourful characters, and a certain entertainment factor that keeps the reader engrossed in the story.

The strongest point of all the three stories in the book is the twists and turns that the situations and characters are put through. Every time the story seems to be heading towards an expected culmination, Piyush, just at the last moment, adds in a new character and a new situation that lengthens the anticipation of the reader. While this tactic works brilliantly in the first of the three stories, titled Bomb Day, the remainder of the two become extremely predictable as the reader, by now, is aware of how the author thinks and the guessing game becomes relatively easier.

The same can also be said about the final twist in each of the three stories. They all have the exact same element (which I shall not disclose here), laced with betrayal, that takes away the fun from the entirety of the story.

The author gives his best presenting Mumbai with a unique character of its own. The stories dive deep into the shady by-lanes of the city emerging occasionally to mention the more prominent parts that even a non-resident would know of. While it does give an insight into the city, to someone who is clueless about the nitty-gritty of the life in Mumbai, like me, the names of the places do not evoke any emotion or response. They are nothing but names that don’t add much to the stories either.

Nevertheless, keeping in tune with the general atmosphere of the stories, the description of the places does add a feeling of dread which in turns does make them slightly more realistic and exciting at the same time.

Mumbaistan is perfect if you want to get a dose of Bollywood type action in the form of a book. The stories are full of vibrant characters and the fast-paced events would be perfect to showcase on screen, but the predictability factor is the only major letdown of the book. Furthermore, counting close to 5-6 obvious printing mistakes in the first two stories was quite disappointing.

I will however state that even after its minor faults and major predictability, the stories and consequently the book remains un-putdown-able.

10 Tips to Scoring a Great Book Bargain

Everyone loves a bargain.

While at one time bookstores were slowly closing down and online retail stores were taking over the market with huge discounts and front-door service, it seems there is a slight revival in the old form of book selling.

I don’t favour online bookstores over physical ones because there is a certain charm to actually wandering through piles of books and then discovering something new. But, the truth remains that online bookstores are popular for two reasons with me; first, at present they tend to have a much greater selection of books and secondly, they at times offer really good discounts.

With the economy at a toss, bargains matter, and even though I try to go as much as possible to bookstores, eventually and ultimately I have to order online for something or the other.

Ordering online is an art when you look at it. While you have no face-to-face contact with the seller, they are still eager to sell their goods to you and discounts are the new way of bargaining, even though it is one-sided.

How does one make the most of these discounts?

How do you know make sure that you’re not paying a paisa more than your friend for the very same book?

Read on and find out;

Compare: This is the most basic form of getting the best discount. With the number of online bookstores increasing on a monthly basis, you can always compare and try and get a better price at one bookstore or another. I personally don’t bother with this. It’s too much of a hassle and I actually prefer the comfort of dealing with one portal, and having my wishlist at one place, until that is, they goof up.

Wishlist: How many of you have a wishlist at your favourite online bookstore? It’s an important aspect of getting the best discounts because what it allows you to do it check, on a daily basis if you like, what the price of that book you want is.

Most of the portals have ongoing discounts on books, some of which are not advertised, and by checking the wishlist regularly you can have an upper hand on what you want to buy and at what price. I have often found great bargains on books by regularly checking my wishlist and you can imagine the joy of unexpectedly realizing that the book you wanted for a long time is available at a 40% discount or more sometimes.

National Holidays: There is a war brewing in the online world. With more retailers, there is more competition, and thus more discounts being offered on a daily basis, literally. National holidays are big days and I have noticed that the top online retail bookstores all have big discounts on these days. True, that these discounts are specific to certain books, but it is still worth it when you are getting up to 60-70% off on discount.

Special Discount Days: Not to be confused with national holidays, a Special Discount Day is another trend that has just taken off amongst fierce completion between the online bookstores. This includes one specific day of the week when the portal will give discounts on a number of its products and checking your wishlist on these days is bound to bring happiness in your life. These days are also perfect for doing some online window-shopping (read: browsing).

Free Shipping: I know this one is the most obvious way to get a bargain. Online retailers charge you for shipping unless you are over and above a certain amount. So it pays to hold on to your buys until you can manage that amount. It might seem like a small amount to pay for postage, but add it up over many purchases and you realize that you could have easily bought a couple or more books for that amount. So, be patient.

Ebay: Although book buying has primarily shifted to the online retailers, do not disregard eBay or similar user generated selling sites. I know for a fact that you can still get amazing bargains on eBay. You can find great deals on such sites and can even get unbelievable prices on slightly used books.

Affiliate Programs: If you are a blogger then you are aware that most online retail bookstores have affiliate programs. I’ve had a bad experience with one of them, but others are good. One of the advantages of being an Affiliate is that you get advance notice, by email in my case, of discount days and especially national holiday discounts. That’s got to be good right? If you aren’t a blogger, then make sure you know people who are affiliates and follow them on twitter or let them know that you want to be informed about discounts. I personally tweet whenever I get advance notice of discounts, others might post on Facebook or just DM you, if you ask them nicely.

Bloggers and Chats: What can possibly be better than a bargain? Free books, but of course. Where do you get these free books? Many bloggers, especially those who primarily review books have competitions throughout the year. Others like me will have them once in a while. There are also Twitter competitions and chats like #TSBC (stop with the self promotion I tell ya!) that give out free books every now and then. So take part in them and who knows you’ll be looking at a nice little bundle of books being delivered to your doorstep one day.

Publishers : Publishers love bloggers and bloggers love publishers. You can always start a blog for free and once you do, get in touch with publishers, again through social media, and presto, you will be getting books for reviews or as gifts from publishers before you can even say Abracadabra! Okay, you need to have some credibility, a few odd reviews on your blog, but if you don’t mind writing a review, you won’t mind getting lots of free books either.

Friends Forever: If none of the above works, I suggest befriending someone who gets lots of books for free and has no place to keep them, again not too hard to do on social media, and hope and pray and beg if you want to, that they pass on part of their bounty to you.

That is all…

 

This little list was compiled by @Raghavmodi who can be found at all hours on his social media channels or editing and re-editing his travel and food posts on Ticker Eats The World

Bookworm in Bollywood – A Love Story of a Different Kind

They say that an empty mind is the devil’s playground. The devil might have had a field day in my mind, but if you read through this post, you will wish why was it that the devil didn’t come and take you before you decided to click that link. In other words… you have been warned.

Bookworm Goes To Bollywood is my mind wandering and wondering what would a love story be like between a Bibiliophile and a book he/she loves.

What if there was drama and tragedy in this relationship?

What if music formed the central core of this story?

What if…

There once was a Book that lived in the farthest corners of a bookshop. It was blue. Not that it wasn’t sad, but that was also the colour of its cover. Its neighbours would change time and again and many a friendships were formed, but while the book sat there, year after year, it would some times at night sing, in a whisper, “Aayega Ayega, Ayega Aaane Wala, Ayega”. (If, this legendary story every gets made in Hollywood, we can always replace the songs to attract the western audience, and might I suggest that “I’m Blue Da Da De Da Da, I’m Blue” would be a great and peppy way to start the story. But that’s for another time).

Just like most stories, the winds had to eventually change. There is a small possibility that someone chose this isolated area in the bookshop to fart, and those were the actual winds of change. But, foul smells aside, one day, a pair of hands grabbed the book, in a delicate way mind you.

Bookworm, the one who was the owner of the two hands, was smitten by the colour of the cover and couldn’t help hum that latest song he had heard at New Years, “Blue Eyes something something blah blah Bomb Lagti Tenu, Bomb Lagti Tenu”. Obviously, when the bookworm continued to repeat the last line of the song, everyone at the bookstore panicked. The police was called and so was a bomb disposal unit. It took a while and our Book was finally given a thorough run down, but in the end Bookworm and Book were together.

Book wasn’t happy about the entire hullabaloo that had just happened over nothing and would keep falling down, trying hard to show its disinterest in Bookworm. Finally it was when Bookworm sang “Aaja Meri Gaadi Main Baith Ja” was the Book happy at the prospect of travelling the world, and jumped into the Bookworm’s arms and stayed there.

Bookworm, on the other hand was ecstatic. He had wanted this very book for years and now he had it. He had found himself a book that he loved, and he could totally relate with the song that played on the radio, “Tu rang sharbaton ka, main meethe ghaat ka paani”.

Thus began a friendship like no other. Bookworm would go nowhere without Book. It was said that often people would look and smile as Bookworm and Book would walk down a busy market singing, “Yeh dosti hum nahi choodenge, choodegen dum magar humsafar na choodenge”.

So much was their love for each other that children made jokes about them. One would ask “What did the Bookworm say to its all time favourite book, one that he likes to read again and again?”, and the other would promptly sing, “Rath lag gai, mujhe to teri rath lag gayi, lag gayi”.

Not only that, but many versions of this joke were being played out now. A child would ask “what if Book is a graphic novel, then what would you sing?” and the others would all shout, “Espiderman espiderman tune churaya mere dil ka chain”, the now popular cult Bhojpuri song.

All good things must come to an end. This was bound to happen between Bookworm and Book (puns are always intended). One day when Dhokuworm came to visit Bookworm he laid his eyes on the Book and wanted to take it, albeit temporarily. Bookworm being the good friend that he was, agreed. Dhokuworm crossed his heart and promised that he would return Book in good condition and on time.

But, the damage had been done. Book was heartbroken at how easily Bookworm gave up on it. As it went away into foreign hands, it flipped its pages and sang “Dost Dost na raha, pyaar pyaar na raha”. (The English version of the story can have Book singing, “Shot through the heart and you’re to blame, you give love a bad name”.)

Dhoku toh Doku nikla. The book was not returned in time. Bookworm had no idea what had happened and if Book was even with Dhoku. His calls went unanswered and slowly and surely he lost faith in friendship and whenever someone would ask why he was so gloomy he would sing, “Kyuki har ek friend kameena hota hai, haan hare ek friend kameena hota hai”.

As the news spread, society couldn’t help but make the most of someone else’s misery and once again jokes began to emerge. People would ask, “What did Bookworm say to the Book that he lent, but was never returned?”, and everyone else would respond by singing, “Hum tere bin ab rehe nahi sakte, tum hi toh ho wajood mera”.

Finally a miracle happened. After months of praying a message came from Dhoku and Book was being returned via post. Bookworm couldn’t help rejoice and ran to the nearest place where a Bollywood song was being picturized and joined in to sing, “Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram, It’s time to party”.

The Book finally arrived. Bookworm opened the package but was aghast at the condition Book was in. He immediately began caring for it. Every night he would sit next to Book and gently caress it while whispering “Dekh lo ek baar edhar toh, Main hoon na” to it. Book was also happy to be back home and slowly but surely started to get better.

It took months, but finally Book was as good as new. He sat Bookworm down and asked him, “What did the Book say to Bookworm after he took care of him?” Bookworm didn’t know. Book, in a rather shy manner sang, “Saans me teri saan mili to mujhe saans aaye, mujhe saan aye” (That’s CPR for those of you who didn’t understand).

Finally, they had a reason to go out and both stood up together and shouted “Where’s the party tonight?”

They went around the town, but eventually realized that in their quest for each other, over months and years, they had left behind everyone else. They were social outcasts. Now it was only them, Book and Bookworm.

This is where the camera pans away and we see both Book and Bookworm together, hand-on-page, sitting on the corner of a not so busy street, under the streetlight on a moonless night, engrossed in each other.

FIN.

Now, if you are still with me, I want you to do one of the following;

If you liked the story, then leave a comment.

If you hated it, then make sure you do leave a comment as this may persuade me to never attempt such a fiasco ever again.

If you even remotely hummed one of the songs mentioned in the post, you HAVE to leave a comment.

But, if you absolutely loved the story and think this is the greatest story ever told, then don’t leave a comment. Don’t say a word, because as they say, “silence is golden”.

 

The above was concocted in the mind of one of our founders @raghavmodi. We often worry about the future of our club after reading what goes on in his brain. However, to keep things civilized, we normally don’t say anything to him. Do keep this a secret. In the meantime you may follow his blog Ticker Eats The World, where he apparently writes about food and travel, from places he has actually, in person, visited. Never knew people still did that.

Book | Journalism

Ticker Eats the World

Joe Sacco JournalismComics have long been considered books for children. With the rise of the “nerd generation” over the last decade, it has become acceptable for adults to proudly state that they too read comics; in-fact they have gone as far as claiming their fandom towards them. As a result, comics have taken on a new life helped greatly by the successful TV and Film adaptations of some of the best selling graphic novels.

Just like most art forms, comics too have many sub-genres. From the funnies that we see in newspapers everyday to the Manga comic craze in Japan (and now pretty much across the globe) to graphic novels that cater specifically to adults because of their content, comics now can entertain pretty much all age groups across both the sexes.

My knowledge in the art of comics has been fairly limited, picking up graphic novels mostly based on films. I…

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The Joy of Storytelling

“Pictures speak a thousand words” might be true, but during our visit to Sapera Basti there were many words spoken and elaborate scenarios conceived as little eyes, wide with amazement, and ears full of promise, entered into the world of magic, ghosts, talking animals, and wonderment in the form of stories. Let’s go back in time. […]

via The Joy of Storytelling — Ticker Eats the World

The Sunday Book Chat (#TSBookChat)

We, at The Sunday Book Club, have always tried to be different and unique in spreading our love for books.

We started off with what we believe was a first-of-its-kind twitter chat about books in India, and then introduced other book-related hashtags that run across the week to engross and engage with book lovers from around the world. We have also organised giveaways from time to time. So, amidst all these new ideas (and with more to come), we thought of doing something familiar, something that everyone would expect a “Book Club” to do.

On the day when we celebrate our 100th #TSBC chat, we are excited to announce the start of a bi-monthly (once every two months) twitter book chat that follows the norms of a “normal” or regular book club.

In a nutshell, at the start of every two months, we will announce one book that we would like everyone to read. The reason why we are doing this on a bi-monthly basis is because this will give everyone ample time to source the book and also time to read it, keeping in mind varied reading speeds.

Continue reading The Sunday Book Chat (#TSBookChat)

10 Reasons for the Success and Failure of eBooks

A couple of years back, eBooks were supposed to revolutionize the publishing world. The end of bookstores was near (and it still is, but for a completely different reason). Physical books were supposed to be a thing of the past and with eBooks being “nature friendly” (debatable), it seemed that conventional books had already lost the battle.

Things are different today. While there might be growth in favour of digitalization, it’s not fast enough to cover the expenses that publishers have to pour into this new format.  It seems that publishers have to really push hard to sell digital editions of their books.

So, why is it that while we have adopted and adapted to new technology in almost all fields that people still prefer physical books over eBooks?

Here’s are my 10 reasons for why I think so:

Continue reading 10 Reasons for the Success and Failure of eBooks

The #TSBC A to Z Challenge: Amrita’s List

We asked our #TSBC participants to come up with a list of books: one book for each letter of the English Alphabet. This A to Z Challenge led to a flurry of mails, DMs on Twitter and finally lists from a few of our participants. Presenting to you the fourth of the A to Z List of Books. This one’s from Amrita.

Amrita is a homemaker, who, for her love of reading and crafting, is now a certified homebody. When she is not neck deep into one of her myriad crafts projects, she would definitely love to get out and explore: provided  you could lure her away from the fictional world she is currently inhabiting. Amrita blogs at A Housewife’s Chronicles and Crafting Delight.

A Short History of Almost Everything Bill Bryson
Bhagavad Gita As It Is A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Choker Bali Rabindranath Tagore
Doctors Eric Segal
Ethel and Ernest Raymond Briggs
Freedom at Midnight Larry Collins and Dominique La Pierre
Gone with the Wind Margaret Mitchell
Harry Potter J K Rowling
I, Robot Issac Assimov
Jurassic Park Micheal Crichton
The Kite Runner Khaled Hussaini
Life of Pi Yann Martel
Mritunjaya Shivaji Sawant
Nothing but Wodehouse Ogden Nash (Ed.)
Oh! The Places You Will Go Dr Seuss
Pale Blue Dot Carl Sagan
Queen of Dreams Chitra Banarjee Divakaruni
Roots Alex Hailey
Shantaram Gregory David Roberts
Two Lives Vikram Seth
Unaccustomed Earth Jhumpa Lahiri
Vaishali Ki Nagarvadhu Acharya Chatursen
Wuthering Heights Emily Bronte
X-ing the Paragrab Edgar Allen Poe
Yes Minister: The Diaries of the Right Hon. James Hacker Jonathan Lynn
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry into Values Robert M. Pirsig

Thank you, Amrita 😀