Thursday, 21 March 2019


Name of the book : Hold My Hand
Author : Dujoy Datta
Genre: YA fluff
Readable: Yes, very much
Can it be made into a movie : Yes, but change the climax

Book Review by Hemant Singh 

I can’t tell you how good the English is. I am full fida. The writer has great sentence-formation chops.

However, things end there.

He began with a bang. The first 20-25 pages convinced me that I was reading the next Salman Rushdie.

Before said Salman takes offense, let me clarify.

The writer lost interest. That’s a delightful way of saying he is no
storyteller. So much so, he gave a silly title to the work.

It is so apparent. No plot. No character development. He even turned a Punjabi kudi into a Bengali shrew.

There are half a dozens missed opportunities. There is this guy, a neat freak and a fitness fanatic. He is mentioned talking to a club bouncer. Twice. Fits the gay trope fine. And the novel would have flown. But na. Then he has an Afghan character. Our writer doesn’t know any community other than pocha maach. So what does he do? Conveniently, kills her off.

Every character, including the villain, is socially-appropriate. Like over-sweet rosagullas. What was he hoping for? That they will prescribe it for class 7 students. He has straight-jacketed boy-girl and then father-daughter conversation. But in damn good English.

The worst is our hero. Neither a joker nor an intellectual and definitely not a hero. Visualise a tall Johnny Lever mouthing inane hyfy stuff.

This novel fell into my lap. When a woman flung things at me. So I read it. I couldn't throw it back at her coz, one, her husband is a bodybuilder and, two, the writer has exceptionally good command over English. Something I love and don't get enough of. But the story didn’t go anywhere and I sleep-walked through this beautiful maze.

The book commits another crime. Of giving disabled peeps blind hope. It’s like those Telugu movies, where a snake listens to your command and takes revenge after drinking the milk you laid out in a saucer. Sad.

Nonetheless, I am sure the Hong Kong government will be pleased with the book coz he describes the whole city. The road, the shopping places, the eating joints, metro, boats, cable car, temples. You know. And, frankly, hits the bulls-eye, unlike any other travel blog. Boring, but spot-on. The only offense that they may take is when the book, reaching a sort-of literary absurdity apex, show an injured blind girl lying on its street, bleeding, and its citizen continue their existence without batting an eyelid, and the poor thing has to wait for the said hero to arrive a half hour later.

I hope and pray the writer seeks me out so that we can collaborate on a book. I provide the story, he the finishing and the baby-face to sell our book.

Wednesday, 6 February 2019


#sex #callgirl #prostitution #athens #greece #bookstoread #timepass #woman

Name of the novel: Sunshine, Sex & Easy Money -Diary of a Call Girl

Author: Maria van Daarten

Sunshine, Sex & Easy Money is an interesting book. It’s a memoir of a call girl and, as one can expect, it’s full of explicit sexual encounters.

It also delves into the psyche of a woman. A woman who has, with a sane mind, chosen a not so run-of-the-mill profession. Considered by many as the oldest profession in the world.

You will enjoy reading this book. Not just for the erotic content. But also for the candid and matter-of-fact posture, the book takes. And also for something that I much liked -the way she describes Athens and its nearby islands.

And thank heavens. It has no crying. No complaining. No blaming others.

The book is also a striking comment on contemporary life. And how acceptable this profession is. This story is from a woman’s point of view. She sees men as inanimate objects like a statue or a robot. So she shies away from going deep into their character and motivation. She treats them like an ATM machine. And nothing else. Nevertheless, she does form deep bonds with a woman or two.

If you are a little fed up with romance novels, read this book and travel thru Greece with a beautiful woman in your arms.


#sex #callgirl #prostitution #athens #greece #bookstoread #timepass #woman

Book Available here

Wednesday, 16 January 2019

THE LITTLE PRINCE - hemantsingh the little prince
All Images are from the net

The Little Prince is a novella – meaning you can read it in 2 hours flat. It’s written by French aristocrat, writer, poet, and pioneering aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It was first published in April 1943. And has sold millions of copies since. This book is said to be one of the most-sold book in history. It still sells about 2 mil copies per year. That’s enough data for you peeps – something the novel says not to pay much attention to.

The book left me bemused. It raised more questions than it answered. What. Why. Who. When. Everything was a puzzle. Every new page brought in a more complex scenario. Starting from page 1. FYI, Page 1 has a kid drawing a boa from the outside and the inside.

I ran to Google and what I read made things even more complicated. Some say that this is a kids book for adults. Others call it an adult book for kids. Some describe it as a book about life. Others call it a book about the author’s wife.

The book has a Dali-like time wrap. The tiny planets, the kid cleaning the volcano. And that boa. And insists of talking about unconventional things. Like a geographer or a lamplighter.

So I read it again. Took a good 4 days. Slowly.  Some inferences became clear. But not the point.
It was not until one reviewer called the book ‘Hotel California of Literature*’ did I begin to understand it.

There is a rose in the book that causes so much befuddlement. Who does it refer to and all that. If only they bothered to check the memoir of the authors’ wife. It is called The Tale of the Rose. The author is said to have had a stormy relation with his wife. And like a good normal human, he didn’t deal with it straight. Rather wrote about it in this book.

Then there is a fox.  The fox says he is not tamed but, paradoxically, seems to have a lot of sane earthy wisdom and morals to share.

We have a dozen other seemingly normal characters who are actually utterly crazy. This is a caustic comment on contemporary life.

When your mind is deprived of water for many days-plus the desert heat, you begin hallucinating. Our writer appears to have been gone thru some such ordeal and went on to write it down – confusing the hell out of us.😊

Nevertheless, It does have a charming sense of humor backed by some minimalistic but interesting drawings – by the author himself. That's my way of saying its a great book - not to be missed.

So read it. And I am sure you will understand more than what I did.

* The reviewer is Rajat Ubhaykar

Monday, 29 October 2018


The Wonky Donkey

Author : Craig Smith
Illustrator : Katz Cowley
Genre : Read-Aloud Kids book

Today we review a video. Not any video but a homemade video of a granny reading a story to a toddler. This video went viral with more than 2M views. And the reason behind it is the laughter of the granny. She just couldn’t control herself.

She was reading a book called The Wonky Donkey and got so carried away by its genuine humor and wit.

The aftermath made a compelling story too. After the video went viral, the sales of the book skyrocketed and the publishers went running to print more books but not before stopping at the bank.

Anyways, good news all around.

Don't miss this video 

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Have you seen the video? Please share your views and comments. I would like to know what you think.

Friday, 26 October 2018




Genre: Sci Fi

The premise of the short stories in this book is, literally and figurative, out of this world. Thankfully no Indian romance stuff here. Just good old time-travel and alien stories. The author has even attempted to explain, rather convincingly, the magic of Indian mythology with rational scientific reasoning. 


The conversational style of writing makes us rather intimate with the players.


We have a funny genie.


I always expect more.

In terms of world building, point of view, and story structure. Imagine Lion King without the Pride Rock or the elephant graveyard or the Hakuna Matata setting.



Why are the characters so one-dimensional? Frankly, the villainous king comes out more interesting than the bland hero. Where are the twists and turns that a writer loves to show-off with?

Having said that, this is a good time pass book. Especially for a science fiction fan. And in Varun Sayal, one sees a talented wordsmith whose next book I eagerly await.

Buy the book (US)                Buy the book (India)

Have you read the book? Is my review fair? I always worry about that. Do share you views and let me know.

Saturday, 20 October 2018


Genre : Parenting

This book is so lucid in its communication that it can easily be called Parenting for Dummies. And to top it, the core here is plain and simple common sense.  What the writer has done is skillfully taken everyday ideas, analyzed it, illustrated it and packaged it into this highly readable book.

But the ha is that a never-want-to-be-a-dad, me, reviewing a parenting book. How messed up is that. However, I have been giving some thought to this parenting thing lately. It’s like your life ends when you become a parent. That’s how it should be. And if you are not prepared to make a sacrifice then don’t become parents. My views.

This book should be read by anyone planning to be a parent and kept for a long time after and revisited often. And then passed down as a family heirloom.


I give credit to the writer for noticing things others don’t even see.  And more importantly, not making rocket science out of it.

So, peeps, grab a copy of this intelligent, easy-to-use guide to better living. And literally save you from the bane of today - Faulty Parenting.

I wish my parents had read this book. They wouldn’t have messed up so badly.  😎

Review by Hemant Singh

Buy the Book (US)                        Buy the Book (India)

Have you read this book? Have you benefited? Do let me know.

Saturday, 6 October 2018


by Lily Lewis 

Genre : Psychological Fiction

The Last Mermaid Princess

I loved this book. And today, I will tell you why. It has an excellent well-told story. No boring bits.  It has well fleshed-out characters even if they are flawed and scarred. It is honest to a psychologically mind-boggling level.

This book is the poignant story of a half-Thai half-Caucasian girl called Lily - Yes. It’s a memoir. This sixties flower child blooms in muck - actually the mess started before she was born - and still kept her head high to make a life for herself. Then, tragically, history repeats itself.

“Days after the backseat encounter during theatre camp, my mother was suspect. Within a week, the whole ugly experience was revealed. I tried very hard not to think about it, and Billy avoided me after that like he had broken something and felt guilty.”

The grey in characters is what makes the book come to life. No black and white insipid stuff. No heroes and villains. Just humans.  Who are willing to admit mistakes. There is just no escape from the consequences of your action. A true picture of today’s society.

The recurring motif of Ramayana, albeit the Thai version, is a source of wonderment and takes the book to yet another level.

I don’t like the rating system but I will, without hesitation, rate this book a 4 out of 4.

I would like to say a few words on the unfortunate mother-daughter relationship. The graph is demonstrated well. How the relationship grows and then turns downwards to reach a point of no return. And for that piece of writing, I will someday revisit this novel.

Buy the book (US)                   Buy the book (India)

Have you read this book? Have you lived the pain? Do let me know......

Monday, 1 October 2018


by James E. Doucette

Genre: Fact-based thriller.

I will tell you why Russia’s Biggest Hack by James E. Doucette is such a delightful read. First. It opens with a bang. Second. The book is full of lively conversation. We just can’t put the book down. Third. Despite being a thriller, it doesn’t follow the usual structure of twists and turns. How does that help? I will tell you. It makes you wonder if the book is a work of fiction or something that really happened.

The story is relatable. There is a big American corporation that the Russians want to take over. The cold-war memories are fresh. The Russians simply can’t walk in with a suitcase and buy American companies. So what do they do? They try the back-door method. Before you realise it, private citizens are neck-deep in trouble. It is left to a few good men to fight them. It’s difficult to match the power of an evil empire, but help is at hand.

The book has the usual suspects - sleazy business operatives, secret agents and, yes, morally upstanding gentlemen. Their interaction is the basis for this book.

The story-telling is direct and straightforward. Everyone is either black or white in the book. There are no complex characters that the reading public so like. Things fall into place way too easily. The monolithic government reacts a bit too quickly. However, if that’s how things happened then it’s okay.

I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. I didn’t give it a 3 because it could have done with a bit of spice. It could have more ‘punches to the gut.’ It could have some humor. It could have had a little sex. There was a hint, but it was not pursued by the players in question.

This book is meant for those readers who like conversation and dialogues. It’s through these instruments the writer progresses the story. After one has read the novel, there is just one question in the reader’s mind. Did this really happen? Is it fact or is it fiction? The writer has done an excellent job keeping this question open. He has also done good work with the climax of the book. Who wins and who loses is not a very difficult question to answer. How it happens is. And to enjoy that, you must read the book.

Review by Henant Singh

Please do leave a comment and tell me about the review

Monday, 24 September 2018


Publisher: Syenagiri

Genre : A curious mix of Historical, Myth and Legend

What happens when you open a parcel and a gold nugget falls out? A priceless nugget with magical power. And it takes you back in time. Well, I‘d better stop now.

The nugget I am talking about is a graphic novel – comics to many – titled Hyderabad (Every city is a story). First. A graphic book about the city of Hyderabad was the last thing I expected. Second. One is not in a position to correctly classify this graphic novel. Is it a book about a person, or a city, or does it have a life of its own? It’s something different. Who says Indians are not creative? And fail to create world-class products. I am holding one right now. The book depicts a sixty-five-million-year journey of this city. In visual mode. Read this book to find out how the writer Jai Undurti and artist Harsho Chattoraj managed it.

This book is a perfect tribute to Anant Pai (Yes, the Uncle Pai of “Amar Chitra Katha” fame). I wish he was alive today to see this book. I loved my first Tintin- as a precocious 9-year old new reader. However, it was in the second reading that I found more. And even more in the next. So much so, I can pick up The Seven Crystal Balls today and have a good laugh. I tell this because one gets to find another angle in this graphic novel on second reading. 

hyderabad graphic novel  hemant bare fact 1

There is one panel that shows a shop named K-3000. It took me back to 80s – the era of the number wars. Some poor fellow used just one alphabet and a single digit to name his shop in Abids. I believe it was D7. And found success. But it was his neighbour who started it. He renamed his shop but utilized a double digit. This game went on until one shop was named S-99999 . Open Deccan Chronicle, all you look at is numbers. On Vividh Bharati, all you heard was numbers.

This book is a must-read for not just every Hyderabadi, but all those who like to read graphic novels that are more than just children stories.

I am sure everyone will understand the bear episode. I practically doubled up with laughter. However, the book should be slightly tweaked to cater to low intelligence folks like me, without losing the awesome tone, narration and attitude it carries.

hyderabad graphic novel  hemant bare fact 1
Ha Ha...

So saying, I will now put on my Indiana Jones hat and dig into this graphic book. Again.

PS: I got so involved in this book that I created my own Hyderabad-centric graphic book. Only in my head, of course. And it had Zamrud cinema and its famous morning-shows, the Musi river and the great flood that almost washed away the city, the poet Chilkan with his down-to-earth shayari, the chota samosa and chai in a saucer at Azizia Cafe, Karachi bakery and its osmania biskut, and, yes,  the dinosaur at the Hyderabad zoo.

Review by Hemant Singh

Have you read this book? How was it. Is my review fair. Let me know....

Saturday, 22 September 2018


by Dr. Pradip Chauhan

Published by Anjuman Prakashan

Genre: I don’t know

Date of Publication: 11 Aug 2018

I picked up this book in anticipation that it will be a nice read. It had an interesting title. It was written by a lecturer of Anatomy. Can’t go wrong.

Sadly, I was wrong. The first page had 19 grammatical and structural errors. I dropped the book. No more, I said.

But it kept nagging. So I went on the net and did a quick search. I was in for a big surprise. Amazon and Goodreads were overflowing with dozens of positives reviews of this book. I was zapped. Could I be wrong? I went back. After all, the good doctor can’t be that bad. I was wrong again.

Here is a sample
“...another arm encircled her waist tightly, she tried to get free from the grip of known embrace. She kicked back, learnt in self-defence lessons at school. The mugger cocked down by the severe pain in the balls. The invader did not take long to recover from unexpected outbreak; a one litre cheap liquor he drowned flued beast’s aggression.”

I gave up again after page 21. There appears to be a 1950-ish love story that could have been best portrayed by Bharat Bhushan and Mehtab. However, it is embedded in English so bad that it was actually good.

It made me think- Why did the good doctor write this novel? How did he become a famous writer - at least according to book summary? How come the publisher didn’t proofread the book? And how come so many positive reviews? Did the doctor threaten his students that he’ll chop off their balls (He used it first) if they don’t?

Slowly it dawned. Being smart is a bane, friend. This book was originally written in a native language. Hindi, Gujarati or Bhojpuri. And must have done fairly well. The publisher then said 'why not get it translated into English. Whosoever did the work, did a transliterationVerbatim. Consequently, we have a unreadable book.

Peeps, say hi to the Bhojpuri Chetan Bhagat!

Review by Hemant Singh

Please do leave a comment and tell me about the review


Name of the book : Hold My Hand Author : Dujoy Datta Genre: YA fluff Readable: Yes, very much Can it be made into a movie : Yes, ...