Short Book Review: The Girl from Krakow by Alex Rosenberg

The Girl From KrakowSBR: The Girl from Krakow is yet another second world war book, but sets itself apart because of its Eastern European setting. There is history in the book and there is philosophy, apart from the fiction. History appears to be good. Philosophy is something I identify with, but the craft of fiction writing falters. Hence you have the same philosophy being spouted by too many unrelated characters as if the author can’t stop himself from pushing it down your throat. So despite identifying with it, after a while I could not stand it. The fiction is too fanciful at times, too many convenient coincidences happen. The language is also awkward in places, perhaps because the author is not a native English speaker.
To read or not to read: Yes – for the history and philosophy, not for the fiction.

Kindle Deals on Books: Booker Prize Winner The English Patient, Chasing the Monsoon, The Raj at War and more

Here are some interesting current deals on Kindle. The prices are likely to change. Do check them before ordering.

The English Patient

A Booker Prize Winning World War II Novel

Rs. 55.80

Chasing The Monsoon

A curious adventure as the author literally chases the monsoon.

Rs. 70/-

The Raj At War

Rediscovering Indian History in World War II

Rs. 159.60


Contemporary Kannada Writing in English!

Rs. 59/-

Greatest Bengali Stories Ever Told

Bengali stories in English translated by the master of the craft Arunava Sinha

Rs. 99.80

West Of The Tularosa

Western Stories by L’Amour

Rs. 25.80


Short Book Review: Hindi Nationalism by Alok Rai

hindinatinoalismSBR: Hindi Nationalism by Alok Rai is an important book to understand the history of Hindustani, Hindi and Urdu in India and also the politics around languages that still consumes a significant portion of our political, administrative and intellectual resources. Unfortunately, the book’s language is far too academic. The author can’t be faulted for it, however, because he hadn’t set out on writing a popular book. It was supposed to be scholarly. Another book of similar character targeted at lay people would be wonderful to have.
To read or not to read: Yes, if academic jargon and language don’t daunt you.

Short Book Review: Gods, Kings & Slaves – The Siege of Madurai by R Venkatesh

Gods, Kings & SlavesSBR: Gods, Kings & Slaves is one of those books that had great potential, but it fell far short of it because the very first draft was published where severe rewriting and editing was needed. The characters are inconsistent, narrative jumpy, language awkward and even wrong due to the incorrect usage of words and phrases apart from bad sentence construction.
The book is set in the time of the rise of Malik Kafur, Alauddin Khilji’s famous general, who attacked the Pandyan empire’s heart in Madurai. It follows the lives of Malik Kafur and Vira Pandyan until they collide. But apart from the interesting historical context, the book falls flat.
To read or not to read: No. Unless you are keen on reading up just anything about the period in the history that this book covers.

Short Book Review: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

The Other Boleyn GirlSBR: The Other Boleyn Girl is another of those best-selling books that should not be read. It is historically inaccurate, the characters who are known to be vibrant, complex and multi-dimensional have been reduced to the single dimension of black and white and the author’s attempt to show Mary Boleyn as an innocent woman victimized by her family and Anne Boleyn as a vicious, revengeful shrew are pathetic. Deviating from historical facts is fine in a work of historical fiction, but those deviations should serve the story. That doesn’t happen here. The idea of seeing Tudor history from Mary Boleyn’s point of view is an interesting premise too. But the story ends up reading like a shallow historical romance. The characters of Mary and Anne Boleyn from the book could easily be adapted for a contemporary Hindi soap opera, where the ambitious woman can only be a vamp and the simpering doormat gets the heroine’s crown. That should tell you how flat the characters and the book are. The writing craft has nothing to redeem the pointless story.
To read or not to read: No. Please don’t.

Kindle Deals on Books by Anita Nair, Ramchandra Guha, Kiran Nagarkar and More…

Here are some interesting current deals on Kindle. The prices are likely to change. Do check them before ordering.

Spy Princess

The story of a descendant of Tipu Sultan who became the only Asian secret agent in Europe in WWII.

Rs. 75/-


 The hilarious first English book of Kiran Nagarkar. A personal favorite of mine.

Rs. 52/-


A collection of essays by the eminent historian Ramchandra Guha.

Rs. 119.60


The story of one of the earliest women artistes to seize the opportunities of recording technology by Vikran Sampath.

Rs. 89.40


The novel introducing the character of Inspector Gowda by our very own Anita Nair.

Rs. 48/-


The much talked about book on the unfortunate case of Aarushi’s murder.

Rs. 119.60


Bring Your Own Book (BYOB) Party on Sep 17, 2016 (Saturday)

RSVP on Meetup OR RSVP on Explara

BYOB 17 Sep Invite


RSVP on Meetup OR RSVP on Explara

Have you read a book and are craving to chitchat about it with someone? Have a favorite book that you think everyone would love, if only they knew about it? Want to see what others are reading and have interesting conversations beyond weather, traffic, and real estate?

Then come to the BYOB party and talk away! Try to avoid a bestseller and if you have a copy, bring it along and read us a passage. All languages are welcome.

There will be refreshments and swags courtesy Worth A Read.

Venue: Kedia Arcade  Office No. 302, 3rd floor,Door No. 92, Infantry road, Bangalore – 560001


So, what really happens at a BYOB Party?

Everyone brings a book and talks about it. Conversations follow and they are good. So are the refreshments!

You can take a look at what happened in some of our earlier parties here:

Do I have to be there for the entire duration of four hours?

We aren’t closing doors or locking you in. But the party is best enjoyed if you are there for the entire duration and listen to people talk about a variety of books. Trust us, you won’t know how time flew.

Do I have to bring anything?

Nothing really. But if you have a copy of the book you want to talk about, you might want to bring it in. Other attendees might want to have a look, or you might want to read a paragraph from it.

I am an author. Can I bring a book written by me?

A good writer should be a voracious reader. It would be preferable if you brought a book you really like written by someone else.

Who are the organizers?

Worth a Read

I have more questions. Who do I contact?

Shoot an e-mail to

Okay! I am ready to come. What do I do?

Join our meetup group, RSVP, and come over!

If you are not on meetup, you can also RSVP on Explara.

Short Book Review: Farthest Field: An Indian Story of Second World War by Raghu Karnad

Farthest FieldSBRFarthest Field talks about Indians in second world war, an aspect of the history that is usually ignored within as well as outside India. Because in India, Indians fighting the war for the British doesn’t fit the national narrative. And outside India, the exploitation of natives in the European war is an uncomfortable subject. But Indians comprised the largest volunteer army in the second world war and the people involved need to be talked about.
My only gripe is an odd mixture of genres in the book. The author set out to write a personal history, for which he didn’t have enough material. He could have written a non-fiction about the role of Indians in the war (which is what the book eventually reads like, but less comprehensive because the author is following his character and not history). A historical fiction on the subject would also have been great.
Of course, it is the author’s prerogative what he chooses to write. But I would love to see a historical fiction on this background. Amitav Ghosh’ The Glass Palace includes this period and this aspect of Indian history, but only on the Eastern front of the war. This book covers Eastern as well as Western fronts.
To read or not to read: Yes because it deals with a most interesting aspect of Indian history.

Article Recommendation: The Fallacy of Success by G. K. Chesterton

The reason I am recommending this excerpt from All Things Considered by G. K. Chesterton is not because it says something that nobody else is saying today. But because he said it over a hundred years ago.

There has appeared in our time a particular class of books and articles which I sincerely and solemnly think may be called the silliest ever known among men. They are much more wild than the wildest romances of chivalry and much more dull than the dullest religious tract. Moreover, the romances of chivalry were at least about chivalry; the religious tracts are about religion. But these things are about nothing; they are about what is called Success.

So it turns out that self-help books and their nothingness are not a malaise that has appeared only recently. And nor is the need to caution people against them particularly modern.

So if you are not convinced against self-help books in modern way and would rather partake some ancient wisdom, read The Fallacy of Success by G. K. Chesterton.

Short Book Review: We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

WeShouldAllBeFeministsSBR: We should all be feminists is a short book based on a TED talk by the author. It is simply written and effectively tackles all the common objections to feminism. The Nigerian experience of the author will definitely ring a bell for the Indian readers. But western world is no paragon of feminism either and Adichie doesn’t spare them.
If you have said or been told stuff like
  • Why specifically feminism and gender problem? Why not talk about all human rights issues?
  • But our culture…
  • Feminism is no longer needed. I don’t think about gender…

then this book is something you must read.

To read or not to read: Yes. And just because it has “feminists” in title, it doesn’t mean it is to be read by women only. Men also must read it.