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Sheetal Bahl RSS Feed (New Delhi, India)
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ASURA : Tale of the Vanquished
ASURA : Tale of the Vanquished
by Anand Neelakantan
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.37
53 used & new from $6.18

1.0 out of 5 stars So much promise, so little delivered, May 24, 2014
This book is terrible. I think I was more than fair to give it a shot for 300+ pages, but I just could not tolerate it thereafter. Here's what's wrong:

1. It goes on forever. This tale could have been finished in 200 pages.

2. The writing is tedious - mediocre in style, and repetitive in content.

3. It starts by shedding some light on the "other side's story" of the Ramayana, but shoots itself in the foot by making of the other story, so that by the end (well, 300 pages), you are more confused than enlightened.

I had high hopes from this book, because I really wanted to hear Ravana's story, but this book totally let me down.

Strongly recommend avoiding.


The Spiffiest Giant in Town
The Spiffiest Giant in Town
by Julia Donaldson
Edition: Paperback
Price: $6.99
88 used & new from $2.70

5.0 out of 5 stars Gentle, beautiful, rhythmic, and great for many years, January 23, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Julia Donaldson is one of our favourite writers, and The Spiffiest... is one of her best works. It's a great story, showcasing the gentleness and kindness of a eminently likable giant, but what we enjoyed particularly about this book was the cadence it has. The repetition of the ever lengthening song that the giant sings works wonderfully, reinforcing the action and hence making it easier for toddlers to understand, and also creating a sing song feel (though I havent figured a great tune for it yet). Totally recommended for kids above 3, and I am very happy to read it repeatedly as an adult too.


Love Is Here
Love Is Here
Offered by MediaWarehouseUSA
Price: $14.86
102 used & new from $0.01

5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, January 23, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Love Is Here (Audio CD)
Love is Here was the fantastic debut album from Starsailor, one of the most intense bands I know. Their intensity surprises me given the age of the band members, and honestly, they sound more like weary travellers at the end of life's journey rather than at it's high point - youth. James Walsh's vocals, in particular, are brilliant, creating the kind of feel that Jell Buckley and Richard Ashcroft (The Verve) do with their voices. The songs are uniformly, melodic, accessible, intelligent, and well crafted, making the album the kind you can listen to again and again for a very long time. Strongly recommended.


Shoes of the Dead
Shoes of the Dead
by Kota Neelima
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $44.00
25 used & new from $5.74

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, January 13, 2014
This review is from: Shoes of the Dead (Hardcover)
Shoes of the Dead took me completely by surprise - not because of its portrayal of politics in the Indian capital (which, as a layman, sounds fairly plausible to me), but because it managed to make the politics intensely personal, and moved me in a way very few books have in the last few years. By the end of the book, the Gangiri's (co-protagonist) victories and losses were mine, and when he hurt, I hurt too. The characters, and the book, stayed with me for a long time after I finished it. The book's structuring and language are robust and accessible, and above all, eminently readable.

Strongly recommended.


Feels Like Carolina
Feels Like Carolina
Price: $11.99
42 used & new from $5.87

4.0 out of 5 stars Fun, easy pop-rock album, January 13, 2014
This review is from: Feels Like Carolina (Audio CD)
Here's how I'd describe Parmalee: country/pop/ college-rock group with the melodic sensibility of Bon Jovi, the catchiness/ riffs of Nickelback, and the Southern feel of Blitzen Trapper (on American Goldwing). Umm, I just realized that this doesn't sound like a great mix-up, but it really works. The album is eminently listenable, but is at it's best when they are doing their catchy, up-tempo stuff, and I can totally imagine a couple of songs like "Musta Had a Good Time" and "I'll Bring the Music" gaining anthemic status with certain audiences like high school and college rock fans.

Totally recommend this album. It's great fun.


Sugoi Mid Zero Leg Warmer (Black, Small)
Sugoi Mid Zero Leg Warmer (Black, Small)
Price: $33.12
6 used & new from $27.00

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, January 13, 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
~180 cms, 190 lbs, average legs (length and build). Ordered a medium basis other's fit recos, and it was perfect for me. Incidentally, these are not as short as they look in the picture, and provide cover from my ankle to upper thighs comfortably.

Have used these in the 10 C/ 50 F temperature range, and they are ideal for that temperature. I suspect they will work reasonably for a few degrees lower too. Material quality is excellent, and if you wear them right, they stay in place (i.e. don't roll down)/.

Highly recommended.


Thinking, Fast and Slow
Thinking, Fast and Slow
by Daniel Kahneman
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $19.77
186 used & new from $5.18

67 of 80 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and insipid, April 21, 2012
Let me start by declaring a bias: I love pop-science books. I'm fairly happy with the hard core scientific tomes too, but pop-science brings together two of my passions - science and literature, and hence I tend to view most such books through a favourable lens.

Fast & Slow started off fairly well, and Kahneman's writing felt lucid and thoughtful. The introductory chapters held promise of a book that would develop well and give me lots to think about, and provide some useful guidance in my everyday life. About halfway through the book, however, against my strong desire to go on, I gave up, and here's why: the book was going nowhere. It wasn't that it stopped being insightful - it was just that it seemed more like a collection of interesting examples than a collected, coherent development. Individually, the chapters did not feel unpleasant, and in fact contained a lot of knowledge and insight that I was unfamiliar with and found engrossing, but my objection is to putting all these chapters together as a book. Most books, outside of the text/ reference book variety, effectively become part of the greater body of literature, and should be viewed through that lens. I don't believe that books can be measured by different yardsticks on account of being clever, or being written by somebody famous or important, and consequently, I believe this book falls short.

So, despite my bias towards this genre, my recommendation would be to read it as a background book, or better still, as a series of articles over a long-ish period of time. You might save yourself some of the disappointment that way and be able to enjoy, and complete this book.


The Accidental
The Accidental
by Ali Smith
Edition: Paperback
Price: $11.96
201 used & new from $0.01

2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful language. Couldn't even finish 50 pages., April 21, 2012
This review is from: The Accidental (Paperback)
The Accidental's high point is the blurb, one of the best I have ever read. The low point is book, one of the worst I have encountered in my life.

Let's start at the very beginning: "My Mother began me one evening in 1968 on a table in the cafe of the town's only cinema." What should I make of this? Grammatical ineptitude or preposterous artistic licence? And the entire book reads like this. It's not an explicitly stylized book, say, like Trainspotting, that completely breaks the rules of writing in the English language, and it isn't the Queen's English for sure. It's stuck somewhere in between, and it's awfully irritating.

There might be a great story somewhere in the book, but I couldn't get past the language to it. If, you're like me, and value words more than the characters or the story, stay away from this book. If, however, you don't particularly care about the language, then don't use my review to take a decision on whether you want to read this book or not.


Asterix and the Actress: Album #31 (Asterix (Orion Hardcover))
Asterix and the Actress: Album #31 (Asterix (Orion Hardcover))
by Albert Uderzo
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $11.92
67 used & new from $0.01

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars The first Asterix I didn't want to finish, April 16, 2012
This is the first Asterix that I have struggled to finish, and honestly, I never expected this series to ever reach this stage. Uderzo's drawing skills are still excellent, but he can't write at all.

The storyline/ plot are extremely weak - a whole book built around the attempts to recover Pompey's sword and helmet (!). In most Asterix books, this would at best be a small side plot, deserving no more than a couple of frames like the pirate ship's tragedies. Uderzo stretches the 1-page plot to an entire book, and it's painful and ridiculous. The dialogue is insipid in normal course, and preposterous when it makes an attempt to become smarter (HGV = Heavy Gaulish Vehicle - really, is that all he can come up with?)

Please don't read this - if you are a fan of Asterix, you will just be hurting yourself.


Asterix and the Falling Sky: Album #33 (Asterix (Orion Paperback))
Asterix and the Falling Sky: Album #33 (Asterix (Orion Paperback))
by Albert Uderzo
Edition: Paperback
Price: $8.82
104 used & new from $0.53

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, but still an Asterix, April 15, 2012
I'm going to be a little more generous that most of the reviews on this book, because while this book is really different, and not entirely pleasantly so, from the entire series before it, it's still a readable Asterix. The book has all the characters we love, a lot of the familiar situations, and the witty comments and repartees (though these aren't of the same quality as the other books). It is a little disconcerting to watch spaceships and ETs in an Asterix book, but it's just that - disconcerting, and no more. It's not a terrible idea, or terrible treatment - I think it's just the loyalty to the old Asterix that makes us cringe. But if you can get past that knee-jerk reaction, the book is ok.

I would not recommend this book for early Asterix readers i.e. folks reading their first few Asterix books, and maybe not even for die-hard loyalists (like me) who have read most of the books unless they are open to a dramatic change. It's probably best for casual, occasional readers of Asterix.


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