Indian Writing – Brunch Book Challenge 2016

Brunch Book Challenge on 27 Book Street

#BrunchBookChallenge 2016
#BrunchBookChallenge 2016 on 27 Book Street

This page is dedicated to Brunch Book Challenge 2016; Reviewing books, stories based in India, including all genres – fiction, non-fiction, short stories, poetry etc written by Indian authors –resident, non-resident, both.

Leading Indian news daily – Hindustan Times, for its Brunch section has been running a reading challenge for its readers since 2014. It is referred to as the Brunch Book Challenge and on social media there is a # [hash tag] dedicated to it for all discussions, recommendations etc. For 2016, the 3rd edition of #BrunchBookChallenge the participants are supposed to read 24 books in 2016, at least 3 of which have to be Indian – location, author or both.

One of my personal reading resolutions for 2016 is to read more of home grown authors, so this reading challenge is a win-win. I have this page on my blog where I will be writing Mini-reviews of books I read for the #BrunchBookChallenge 2016. My little deviation is besides my usual reading challenges I aim to read 24 written by home [India] grown authors.
It’s December 24 and I have now completed the #BrunchBookChallenge and here are the 24 books I have read, YAY ME, I have covered quite a few genres from Fiction, non-fiction to short stories, motivational and personal development too. here are the 24 books and my thoughts on the same.

Brunch Book Challenge Book 1-4
Brunch Book Challenge Book 1-4
  1. The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra by Vaseem Khan.

Title: The Unexpected Inheritance of Inspector Chopra [A Baby Ganesh Agency investigation]

Author: Vaseem Khan

Published: 2015

Publisher: Mulholland Books

Format reviewed: ebook

Rating: 4 *

My thoughts: for once a book caught my fancy solely with its vibrant cover. There is a baby elephant and a moustache on the cover and an intriguing title. Mumbai is vibrant city and whether you love it or not, you are sure to pay attention to it when it takes center stage. The story is based in Mumbai and the characters are an unusual and quirky mix, an honest police officer, his feisty wife, a pain in the life mother in law and the cherry on this family cake is a moody baby elephant in the midst of Mumbai’s beautiful, lively chaos. The honesty of the police officer and timely action filled performance by the baby elephant are brilliant. The story from start to finish kept me engaged and made me yearn for a trip to Mumbai and reminded me how turbulent, scary yet beautiful Mumbai rains are. There is a certain hope and freshness in the story and if you are in the mood to read a story on India and smile afterwards, this is your story. NEEDLESS to say Baby elephant known as Ganesh in the story is cuteness overload and I am not complaining. We Indians do love our majestic elephants. The police officer in this story is a rare breed which makes this story all the more appreciable. An easy read filled with chuckles, laughs and aha moments with Mumbai providing a charming backdrop.

  1. The Bestseller she wrote by Ravi Subramanian

Book details.

Title: The Bestseller She Wrote

Author: Ravi Subramanian

Published: 2015

Publisher: Westland Ltd.

Format reviewed: paper book

Rating: 4 *

My thoughts: The tag line of the story is Love, Betrayal, and Redemption. Extra marital affairs have a sneaky way of creeping in, in the lives of people and slowly erupt in an unforgiving hot mess, like a crackling angry Lava. When the betrayal part in your life is one such hot mess even the strongest of love tends to waver and shake. This only goes to show how fickle relationships and love is, sure we all want the love as described in the great love stories of the world or the type portrayed in block buster movies. But we tend to overlook that with great love, great pain is not far behind and not everything is roses and rainbows. This story has all the ingredients essential for a Bollywood cinema style thriller. Only the written version, in my opinion, is far better than what the movie people will create. Such stories with a thrilling cycle of love, manipulation, betrayal, redemption and making things right is far better to read than to see on a cinema screen. The cinema tends to water down the emotions I believe. So while the story was thrilling it did raise a few issues in my mind about infidelity and the wonders of human nature. I was on the edge the whole time I read this story and by the end of it not only was I satisfied with the ending but was also thoroughly entertained. So from the popular Bollywood movie dialogue this story was pure Entertainment, entertainment, entertainment – the 3 things which ensure a bestseller.

  1. Hold my Hand by DurjoyDatta

Title: Hold My Hand

Author: DurjoyDatta

Published: 2013

Publisher: Penguin Metro reads

Format reviewed: Paperback

Rating: 3.5 *

If I were to describe this story in a sentence it would be ‘A charming story with much needed diversity in fiction, infused right into its soul’. The diversity I am talking about is the disability some of the characters in the story have and how it’s tackled. There is nothing picture perfect about the characters, so it doesn’t paint an impossible fairytale life. The characters are very much possible in real life and even sound almost like the normal teenagers around us. While the characters, Deep and Ahana may be 19 and almost adults their age doesn’t act as a distraction. Their relationship is charming and impressed me a bit about how teenagers can also be sensitive. This is my first title by the popular Indian author DurjoyDatta and of a genre I rarely pick up. That said this story age didn’t act as a distraction and I quite enjoyed the youthfulness of the characters. At one point in the story Deep, mentions the Alexander analogy and I was quite taken by it. You should definitely read this book to find out what it is, I absolutely loved how he compared his Love for Ahana to it.

My few things that came to my mind after reading the story:

  1. Sometimes in Love, looks really and literally do not matter.
  2. Having a sense of humor in relationships is so helpful and at times important.
  3. 1st love will always hold a special place in your heart even when the object of your affection is not the same as expected or you grow out of love. 1st love is always special in our memories.
  4. Age doesn’t matter in a relationship when you are clear about your feelings and true to what’s in your heart.

The ending of the story was unexpected and a pleasant surprise. The sights of Hong Kong and the emotions of the characters were well written and made for a charming read.

The only thing I would have liked was a bit faster pace of the story and an interesting cover. Other than that it was a good read.

  1. The Superhero Soul by Dilip Bathija

This is a self help, motivational book and was sent to me by the author’s PR team. Now I believe the human brain and body has potential we haven’t even discovered yet. Going by this believe, I wanted to understand how a regular person can go about becoming a super hero in action. Well not your run of the mill, costume wearing, vigilante or alien fighting type but the more of highly productive and efficient human being type. This book did help me uncover some interesting and practical tools to be a better version of myself. Read my full review here.

Brunch Book Challenge Book 5 - 8
Brunch Book Challenge Book 5 – 8
  1. Hedon by Priyanka

This is a debut title by Priyanka Mookerjee, released early 2016. I was pulled in by the blurb which sounded just like the sharp, quick paced modern romances by the western authors, so I happily requested a review copy. The cover is gorgeous by the way and how exactly I found this story, well read my full review here.

  1. Turbulence and 7. Resistance by Samit Basu

The genre of these books is, which I never willingly read. What made me pick up these 2 titles is that they start off in India, have Indian characters and since it’s a genre which I think is a bit out there I wanted something familiar to make me read and finish the books. The books are pretty entertaining I must confess, read my full reviews here.

  1. Second Lives by Anish Sarkar

The reason I picked up this title is I wanted to read, in 2016, more books by Male authors and of genres others than my usual ones. So as a crime thriller this was a perfect weekend/lazy day pick. Read my full review here.

Brunch Book Challenge Book 9 - 12
Brunch Book Challenge Book 9 – 12
  1. Everyone has a Story by Savi Sharma

Another 2016 debut, To be honest I am not very impressed by the story telling of the debuts I have read this year. Better luck in 2017 I hope. Why I say so well, Read my full review here.

  1. Jihadi Jane by Tabish Khair

Just the title suggests it’s a hot topic in the current world scene, so when a book on it comes out by a non resident Indian, I was only too happy to read his point of view. I liked it quite a bit, Read my full review here.

  1. Start up your Fashion Label by Aarthi Gunnupuri

This is purely a personal development book I read this year and which actually gave me a practical to do list on a specific topic. If you are someone interested in the fashion business, this is a book you should pick up and read before taking your first step. Read my full review here.

  1. A change of heart by Sonali Dev

This story is partly based in India by an Indian American author and the story line is pretty engaging too. Read my full review here.

Brunch Book Challenge Books 13-16
Brunch Book Challenge Books 13-16
  1. Love bi the way by Bhaavna Arora

This is a story first about friendship, relationships and then bi sexuality and in that particular order. Read my full review here.

  1. The Calling – Unleash your true self by Priya Kumar

This is a motivational story via fiction. I particularly liked it and it did help me in quite a few areas personally. Read my full review here.

  1. Pound of Flesh by Mukul Deva

A crime thriller again and I particularly enjoyed the pace of this one. Read my full review here.

  1. Never Gone by Anusha Subramanian

A 2016 Debut title and the only one I read which I enjoyed as opposed to the 2 others I read. Read my full review here.

Brunch Book Challenge Books 17 - 20
Brunch Book Challenge Books 17 – 20
  1. Forget me not Stranger by Novoneel Chakraborty.

#StrangerTrilogy is quite popular, well atleast until the final book i.e Forget me not Stranger released earlier this year. To say the least I, like many other bookworms who have read the 1st two books in the trilogy, was not impressed by the final book which reveals the strangers identity. We have a popular saying in India which loosely translates to ‘I moved a mountain only to find a rat underneath’, well that’s how I felt about the Stranger’s identity. The book is to say the least is disappointing, I didn’t even feel like reviewing it on the blog, as earlier planned. So here’s my Goodreads review, read it here.

  1. Sultan of Delhi Ascension by Arnab Ray

This story is about Arjun Bhatia, a partition refugee in India. That’s one of the reasons I read it and after reading it, I can say it’s a cinema like experience. Read my full review here.

  1. The legend of Laksmhi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna

A short story collection by an author who is popularly known as Mrs. Funny bones in India, who has also previously worked in Bollywood, is also a popular columnist for newspaper giants The Times of India. Her columns appear every alternate Sundays and are her musings on the family life and things around her. Her observations are sharp and definitely filled with humor. This short story collection which has 4 stories is released by Juggernaut Books. A mobile application based book publisher who print their most popular titles after releasing them first on the mobile app. Coming back to The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad, the stories are that of courage, companionship, compromises and foremost accounts of relationships and achievements that take a little more effort and going above the regular tried and tested things in life. The stories will touch your heart; give you food for thought and a nudge to try something out of the box. The narration is crisp and doesn’t give you a chance to complain. The writing as expected is very good, having read the author’s columns previously. I would recommend this short story collection a perfect fit for travelling and, or when you have just time to read a few pages. Goodreads review.

  1. I am Big, So What?! By Shuchi Singh Kalra

This has to be one of my favorite book this year and the most positive books I have read especially when it comes to Body Image. Read my full review here.

Brunch Book Challenge Books 21-24
Brunch Book Challenge Books 21-24
  1. The forgotten daughter by Renita D’Silva

This is the first book of Renita’s that I have read, her other titles have been published by one of my favorite digital publishers Bookouture UK. So when I spotted a paperback of hers in a local bookstore I had to get it. This is a story which is quite emotional and touching and I was quite happy with it. Read my full review here.

  1. Madras on Rainy Days by Samina Ali

I had no idea about the layers that existed in this story when I started reading it. The blurb doesn’t give away a thing and as the story unraveled I was feeling quite a few emotions and not all happy ones. It is a difficult story emotionally and about something which has a long living past and certainly isn’t something which will change drastically in the future. Read my full review here.

  1. Second chance at Love by Ruchita Misra

This is another favorite read of mine this year. A story which is not completely chicklit or an out and out romance, it has elements of chick lit, romance and so much love and intimacy between its characters. I loved this one glad such a story line is written by an Indian author as I have only read such love stories by non Indian authors. Read my full review here.

  1. Finally the last book of the challenge is Sophie Says by Judy Balan

This is a story on break up and commitment, phobia or aversion as Sophie would like to hear it as. Sophie is a Break up coach and the story follows her thoughts on the breakups she has, her thoughts on relationships and life. It is a hilarious story with its sweet moments; the character of Sophie is bold, she speaks her mind without apologizing. She is not someone you will take an immediate liking to, but you will also not hate her. As she goes through life you will both agree and disagree with her philosophies ad actions in life. By the end of it you will realize there is nothing wrong in having a different than regular outlook on life and relationships. I had fun reading this story and even though Sophie’s breakup theories were not completely to my taste I did enjoy her navigating through life by being true to herself. Goodreads Review.

So here is my 2016 #BrunchBookChallenge COMPLETED, Looking forward to the 2017 challenge now 🙂

Happy Reading.
Reviewed by Bharti