Sunday Salon: Awards

I received a couple of awards over the past month, but I haven't gotten around to acknowledging them. So I'm doing a belated handing out of the awards. So sorry for the delay!

I received the Beautiful Blogger Award from readerbuzz and from Laurel-Rain Snow. Thanks so much, it's really wonderful to be appreciated!

The rules of the Beautiful Blogger award are to pass it on to other beautiful bloggers and tell seven things about yourself.

I'd like to pass this award on to

1. Shweta from Book Journal
2. Veens from Giving Reading a Chance
3. Joann from Lakeside Musing
4. Ivana from Willing to See Less
5. Jenny from Jenny's Books

And now, 7 things about myself...

1. I love reading (duh!)
2. I love writing.
3. I want to learn to play the guitar
4. My dream is to have a little cottage by the sea
5. I'd love to have a snowy winter
6. When I was 6, I wanted to be a gardener
7. I can't swim, because I'm scared of drowning.

I received the Happy 101 Award from readerbuzz. Thanks a lot!

My charge is to list ten things that make me happy and pass on this award to five more bloggers.

1. BOOKS (this would probably occupy all ten spots, but I decided not to make it so easy)
2. Writing
3. Travelling
4. Learning new things
5. Eating mom's cooking
6. Lazing around (oh, you've no idea how happy this makes me!)
7.Watching sunsets and sunrises (very relaxing)

8. Food
9. TV
10. Music

I'd like to pass this award on to 

2. Kathy from Bermudaonion's Weblog
3. Anna from Diary of An Eccentric
4. Carol from Carol's Notebook
5.Fyrefly from Fyrefly's Book Blog

Have a happy weekend!

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Sunday Salon: BBC Adaptations

The Sunday

BBC came out with a few adaptations of Shakespeare's plays a while back, called ShakespeaRe-told, and I spent much of this week watching them on Youtube. These are a set of four movies which take four of Shakespeare's plays and retell them in a modern setting, without losing the essence of the plays. I watched The Taming of the Shrew and Much Ado About Nothing, and I really enjoyed them a lot. Macbeth is up next, and I'm looking forward to it, since it has James McAvoy in the lead, who is one of my favorite actors.

I really love the BBC adaptations of the classics, though I haven't seen too many to be a critical judge. The first one I ever saw was Pride and Prejudice, and that was the biggest motivation for me to read the novel. A long time after that, I watched North and South, which, other than giving me a huge crush in the form of Richard Armitage, made me realize that there are a lot of Victorian authors I have never even heard of. ShakespeaRe-Told was a big boon for me because I haven't read any of the original Shakespeare plays, even in abridged form (*gasp), and this really helped me a feel of what they were about. And they introduce me to a lot of great actors, actors whose work I'd love to see more of. BBC TV serials are so great for people like me who, let's face it, are too lazy to read the original novels, and want something more concrete and memorable than a Wikipedia summary.

So, what's your favorite BBC adaptation?

And here are this week's giveaways

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away The Girl who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen till April 17
Alaine-Queen of Happy Endings is giving away a choice of three books till April 30

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REVIEW The Music Room: Namita Devidayal


This book has garnered a lot of praise, with Pandit Ravi Shankar calling it “A must for every musician and music lover!” It was a very soothing read, and gives a fascinating insight into Indian classical music.

When she was ten, Namita’s mother took her to Dhondutai, a respected singing teacher of the Jaipur Gharana, and the only remaining student of its illustrious founder Alladiya Khan. Dhondutai sees in her traces of the tempestuous Kesarbai Kelkar, the most famous student of the gharana. But will Namita have the dedication to give herself completely up to her music, or will there be too many things in the way?

The Music Room takes you into the world of ragas and alaps, and is a wonderful journey into the swirling depths of Indian classical music. I love listening to classical music, though I can’t distinguish one raga from another, and I really enjoyed reading this book. It looks at how great musicians are made, and how they dedicate themselves to their art, sometimes giving up their families and their personal lives for its sake. Namita speaks lovingly of her guru, Dhondutai, and how she inculcated in her a passion for music. The book talks a lot about the guru-shishya parampara that is the cornerstone of Indian classical music and how Indian music can never be learned from books and sheets, unlike Western music, but only through the teacher who imparts the many nuances of the musical legacy.

Indian music is rooted in a fundamentally different assumption- that there is a continuous, unseen, and constantly changing reality which is the backdrop for all human action and perception. It is what shapes our karma or destiny, and helps explain why seemingly inexplicable things happen to us. The notes in Indian music are thus not categorical, separate, self-contained entities, but are connected through a subtle elusive continuum of notes that can barely be identified by the human ear. They are, in the metaphysical sense, part of that reality which lies beyond perception. These in-between notes are called srutis, and they are the essence of Indian music.

In a very literal sense, these srutis are the half notes and quarter notes that fill the interval between two notes. But that would be a grossly incomplete description. There is much more to the sruti, for it can entirely change the reality of the notes. For instance, how you reach a particular note is as important as the note itself. It may be arrived from below, or above, after caressing that hidden note that hovers next to it, and it will evoke a completely different sensation than if the musician were to meet the note directly.

I would recommend this book to every music lover, whether or not you have any knowledge of Indian music.

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REVIEW Three Men in a Boat: Jerome K. Jerome


First, a big apology to the readers of this blog. I've been off for longer than necessary. First it was mid-terms and then a poor Internet connection, and I really haven't been able to blog much. But that doesn't mean I haven't read anything! So, on to the review. I can’t believe I went so long without reading Three Men in a Boat. It is a marvelous book, a great piece of witty writing.

Jim, George and Harris decide to go on a boating trip to regain their health. They decide to take their dog along, and after much “meticulous” planning, set out. Three Men in a Boat follows their eventful couple of weeks, from which the trio returns, suitable rested and relaxed.

The narrator, like his friends is a very indolent man, which results in a variety of hilarious situations. Jerome’s flair for the comic is impeccable, and he packs page after page with hilarious incidents. There are many anecdotes which the characters recount at various instances, and my favorite ones are the German composer’s song at a dinner the narrator attended, and the entire chapter devoted to their previous boating escapades. The book does have its serious moments, especially when the narrator ruminates over the natural beauty or the historical significance of the place they are passing. This book is like a humorous travelogue, as Jerome takes you on a journey down the Thames, past the English countryside. I read this book as I was trying to get through Atonement, and I found it a short, breezy and awesome read. There are a lot of hilarious passages, and I found it difficult to pick a few, so I settled for this one right at the beginning, which set the tone and gave me an idea of what to expect.

I came to typhoid fever – read the symptoms - discovered that I had typhoid fever, must have had it for months without knowing it - wondered what else I had got; turned up St. Vitus's Dance - found, as I expected, that I had that too, - began to get interested in my case, and determined to sift it to the bottom, and so started alphabetically - read up ague, and learnt that I was sickening for it, and that the acute stage would commence in about another fortnight. Bright's disease, I was relieved to find, I had only in a modified form, and, so far as that was concerned, I might live for years. Cholera I had, with severe complications; and diphtheria I seemed to have been born with. I plodded conscientiously through the twenty-six letters, and the only malady I could conclude I had not got was housemaid's knee.

I felt rather hurt about this at first; it seemed somehow to be a sort of slight. Why hadn't I got housemaid's knee? Why this invidious reservation? After a while, however, less grasping feelings prevailed. I reflected that I had every other known malady in the pharmacology, and I grew less selfish, and determined to do without housemaid's knee.

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REVIEW Conflicts with Interest: Michael Ruddy


I'm so sorry for the lack of posts this past week, my midterm exams are coming up, which, coupled with an erratic Internet connection, have served to keep me away from books and the blog. I will not be posting for the rest of this week and the next. This review, in itself, is long overdue, considering I read Conflicts with Interest a while back.

From the publisher: Sometimes life can be a poker game with a fortunate stroke of serendipity. Sometimes it's nothing but incessant bad luck. T.R. Morgan is playing such a game with his most feared situation as a builder: Defect Litigation. He finds himself caught in a nasty lawsuit against Steve Sanderson, a ruthless Bay Area lawyer. The problem- it seems, is when will T.R. lose his company and home over this lawsuit and how many times over? Or will his own gambling habit be his downfall? And is his new girlfriend, Catherine, actually who she seems?

Initially, I wasn't too interested in the story. There was too much convoluted legalese which made me feel a little bored, considering that it is more about U.S. law than Indian law. But you get to see a pretty accurate picture of how construction defect litigation proceeds and the unethical deals that abound, and how it affects a honest builder. The characters were a little one-dimensional, and I did not particularly care for Ryan, T.R's son, who I thought was a little petulant and clueless. This is a pretty interesting read, and I think it is quite relevant to people related to the construction industry, because, as I read in a blog, there are a few similarities with real-life characters.

Thank you to the author for sending me a copy of this book to review.

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