My Top Five Favourite Childhood Book Series

I have been a bookworm my whole life. There isn’t a time where I don’t remember reading. And let me tell you, growing up with books is the best thing. I saw Atiya from The Good Life do this post and I had to copy her.

So in no particular order, here are the top five series that I loved as a child.

  1. Inspector Jamshed Series:

 

When we lived in Pakistan, one of our neighbour’s had a huge cupboard full of Ishtiaq Ahmed books in their store. Her son (Ali Bhai to us) used to read them as child. We devoured those books like cotton candy. The moment summer used to be in swing, we would run to their house and ask them to go straight to their store. We visited it on a daily basis. As much fun the series was, it was also great for kids because it would teach you valuable lessons. Through these detective stories, Ishtiaq addressed topics like honesty, bravery and hard work. Also, please don’t judge me. Keep in mind that I grew up with four boys. (two brothers and two cousins) So there was a lot of male influence. Continue reading “My Top Five Favourite Childhood Book Series”

Pir-e-Kamil !

Aab e Hayyat !

Its first episode is right in front of me. And I do not know what to do.

I love Pir e Kamil. Love is a very small word to describe what I feel for this book. Its that book. The book that changes your life.

How you think about it. How you live it. How you do anything.

I cannot decide whether I should read it or not. I know I am not going to able to contain myself. But I just want to take a moment and remember what it felt like to start this book. Once again, this book is going to change my life.

I have been waiting for this book since 2008. That was the year that I read Pir E Kamil. I was 13. Barely old enough to understand the book. My Khala gifted this book to my elder brother on his result after he told her how much he had loved reading a little bit of it.

Huzaifa used to write about this book in every Slam Diary that I made. And he kept telling people to read it. His only advice was read Pir e Kamil. It will change your world.

And he was right.

Because it did change my world.

Whenever I go back to this book, I start seeing it in a different light. I learn something new, something incredible. The book is like a maze, the more you explore it, the more you keep finding treasures.

I wish I had the ability to write just 1 percent as Umera Ahmed does. But than, its a gift.

After reading this book for the first time, I am never going to have that. I am never going to be able to read it again. To have that feeling where you know you are reading an incredible book and you do not know what is to come.

One thing is certain, I will love this book no matter how the story folds out.

…SAP…

Me And My Bookmarks

I love bookmarks just like any other bibliophile. But my attempts at using them always go to waste.

This is hilarious because I even make bookmarks.

Last summer, I made a ton of bookmarks because school was over and all of us friends were splitting up. So I wanted to gift everyone and bookmarks were included in those gifts.

Following are some of the reasons I do not use bookmarks as often as I should, :

1. I never find my bookmarks in the first place, whenever I am reading. And being impatient, I start reading after 5 seconds.

2. If I am lucky enough to find them, when I finish reading, I always forget them to actually put the bookmark in the book.

3. If I end up doing that, than whenever I restart the reading process, I will put the bookmark down because it keeps irritating me. And than I forget about it.

4. My brain tells me that the time it takes to use the bookmark, I can spend that on reading the book and end up doing that.

5. Also I end up gifting a majority of my bookmarks because I am like, I am not going to use them.

Despite all this I have a few favourites which are honoured despite my laziness.

One of the bookmarks I use a lot is a card out of playing cards.

And I might be slightly obsessed with skulls.

P.S. I had a group called ‘Cursed Souls” in 7th grade. And to me, its the coolest thing to this date.

…SAP…

Home Is Where The Heart Is

Its been four years since our last move and I have to say that I had forgotten the chaos that comes with it. My house looks like a frat house right now. Piles of clothes lie here and there, cartons have engulfed every inch of the space, keys have been lost, the trash pile is larger than the things we actually need, arguments are going on on what to keep and dispose off ( my mom wants to throw everything) and any attempt at making the house cleaner ends up making it more messy.

After taping and labeling a carton, we find something that has to specifically go that in one. Than we have to open it up again. Its a disaster. We only have two days left till the moving day and let me tell you that only our store has been packed and the books of the house, which occupy more space than rest of the things combined. Abbu had a fit seeing so many books. And he uttered the words “ban” and “books” in the same sentence. I said, lets not go there, my dear daddy. Because more than half are yours.

What I love about moving houses is that you have an excuse for everything. Didn’t do your homework. Moving houses. Didn’t callback a friend. Moving houses. Missed dental appointment. Moving houses. Ordered pizza three times in a week. Moving houses. Its awesome. And it works every single time.

Its a little weird though. In a way, we don’t have a single house to call home. So we make every one of the houses we live in, our home. And you get attached to it. But the fun part is that you have numerous houses all over the continents to call your home.

This house like many before, has been our home. It has seen us BBQ countless times on the roof, than counting the stars in the sky, running upstairs like its a marathon to watch the fireworks. My favourite corner where I have sat, blinded by sunlight, drinking coffee and writing something. The wall that is covered with my incomplete sketches of the Doha Skyline, Huzaifa’s disastrous writing on top of it and Moawiz’s creepy hand drawn men crawling all over it. Me and Muaaz dancing like we are possessed, in the cold November rains. Our endless arguments on who will sweep the garage floor. The crazy idea we had of painting it ourselves and we did do it.

I sincerely hope that we pack everything and still have our body parts working. Because right now, we look like gypsies who have parked their caravans on the country side and thrown everything in it.

Good luck to you and to us !

Adieu !

S

…….

Bookish Resolutions 2014 !

I have never had bookish resolutions but I thought to myself and realized that the time has come to do so. Because when i have certain objectives in mind, than its easier to comply with them. So here are my bookish resolutions for 2014 :

1. Read more classics. 
I have a love hate relationship with classics. I take forever to read a classic because it requires patience. And I suck on that account. But the few classics I have read, I have loved them, like Pride and Prejudice, The Count of Monte Cristo, Little Women (one of my favourite childhood books), Arabian Nights, Jane Eyre etc. So this year I hope to read the classics already in my possession.

2. Buy more books:

I was packing my books for moving and I saw that I have bought only 16 books in 2013 which is such a shame. And a lot of books I read as ebooks. So this year, I am going to buy all the books I read. I tend to spend my money on other things and than I have nothing left for books. So buy books first. Than anything else.

3. Blog more about books:

I am a slacker when it comes to blogging. I am not consistent at all. I keep putting off blogging like the rest of the things. And then I forget about it. When I open blogger, I have an empty mind which makes me sad. So blog as soon as the idea pops in my head. Thus blogging more about books. Whether its books reviews, author reviews etc.

4. Be a consistent reader:

Normally, when people finish a book, they start another one. I do not do that. I might read 10 books in a week. Than don’t read any in the next three. I have no idea why that happens. But that is the way it is and its not good. I love reading and this just wastes time which I end up doing something not productive. I will try to pick up another book as soon as I finish the one I have finished reading.

5. Write the review as soon as possible:

I read a book. Than the opinions I have about it are just churning inside my head. And I take my time thinking about it. But I don’t pen it down immediately. I take a day or two. What happens than is, that I have either started a new book, forgetting a little about the previous one. Or the opinion is not as strong as it was before. And the review is not as good as I would want it to be.

So these are my bookish resolutions. I am not setting myself a challenge this year because I want to see how much I read without the pressure of completing a challenge. Lets see how I do.

……

Book Review: Five Point Someone by Chetan Bhagat

From Goodreads:

Set in IIT, in the early ’90s, Five Point Someone portrays the lives of the protagonist Hari and his two friends Ryan and Alok. It explores the darker side of IIT, one in which students- having worked for years to make it into the institute-struggle to maintain their grades, keep their friends and have some kind of life outside studies.

Funny, dark and non-stop, Five Point Someone is the story of three friends whose measly five-point something GPAs come in the way of everything-their friendship, their love life, their future. Will they make it?

Published: April, 2006
Author: Chetan Bhagat
Pages: 267
My Rating: 3.5
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Asian Literature

First of all, the concept was right up to my alley. It felt really good to read what I have felt studying in the system for the past four years. The concept was how the education system of IIT in India is all about rot learning and using your memory not your brain to study. That is exactly what happens in the Pakistani system as well. I am not saying its bad, I am saying, its not something I adjusted well to. That is one of the reasons I decided to do ACCA and not go back into the system to do medicine.

I loved the friendship between the three guys. Usually the guy friendships are very easy but not in this story. Friendship is the one thing that does not require any kind of label with you. It does not matter whether you are rich or poor or a failure. You are a friend. That is all matters. Which is exactly what this story was about.

I loved Ryan’s struggle with the system he was studying in. Because that is exactly what I felt in the past two years of my studies. And I did mess up my life. Like Bhagat says’ “Life screws you over just when you have figured it out.” All the three friends had different problems which they did solve with their own point of view.

All in all, it was a refreshing read which really tallied with the life that Pakistanis and Indians live as students.

…SAP…

Book Review: The Sea Of Tranquility by Katja Millay

From Goodreads:

I live in a world without magic or miracles. A place where there are no clairvoyants or shapeshifters, no angels or superhuman boys to save you. A place where people die and music disintegrates and things suck. I am pressed so hard against the earth by the weight of reality that some days I wonder how I am still able to lift my feet to walk.

Former piano prodigy Nastya Kashnikov wants two things: to get through high school without anyone learning about her past and to make the boy who took everything from her—her identity, her spirit, her will to live—pay.

Josh Bennett’s story is no secret: every person he loves has been taken from his life until, at seventeen years old, there is no one left. Now all he wants is be left alone and people allow it because when your name is synonymous with death, everyone tends to give you your space.

Everyone except Nastya, the mysterious new girl at school who starts showing up and won’t go away until she’s insinuated herself into every aspect of his life. But the more he gets to know her, the more of an enigma she becomes. As their relationship intensifies and the unanswered questions begin to pile up, he starts to wonder if he will ever learn the secrets she’s been hiding—or if he even wants to.

Published: November 2012
Author: Katja Millay
Pages: 448
My Rating: 4/5
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary 

I have been reading about damaged and broken teenagers with life threatening diseases this year and every time I start by expecting just a light hearted everyday story. But that does not happen. Not that I am complaining.

First of all, I loved this book because of all the sarcasm in it. That edgy sarcastic, fun teenager vibe which I really liked. It made me miss my friends so much more because the one thing I love about them is awesome come backs and all those inside jokes. And I am already missing the fact that that will be hard to accomplish now. 
Millay started the story with Nastiya (which I kept pronouncing N-aas-tiya reminding me of ‘nasty’) starting her life all over again. Instead of hiding herself in oversized sweats and geeky glasses, she does the opposite which I found a little different. And for the first time I read about a popular high school boy having real life issues in his own image instead of just being perfect. So I have to say that the characters were pretty perfect. 
I really liked how the story was not just about two teenagers but in fact three of them. I loved all the Sunday dinners at Drew’s house, Nastiya’s baking, Josh’s wood work and Drew’s debating. The concept of hobbies is dying these days making people think that watching movies and listening to songs is a hobby which it really is not. So I loved that some real hobbies were incorporated in this book. 
Although I did get a little sick of all the high school drama going on in the middle of the book. But the ending did not disappoint me at all. Especially the answer to Josh’s question. It was a great book.

…SAP…

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Fall List 2013

I am not the kind of person who chooses ahead of time what to read. These days my TBR list is so long, I have lists instead of a list. And the buying list is even longer. So for me, I just read the book as I buy them or just start a random one from my TBR list. But I do have some of the books that I tend to look forward to reading them more than the others.

Top Ten Books On My Fall List 2013


1.Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K.Rowling:
When the news of J.K.Rowling writing under a pen name broke out, I was thrilled. I did not really like The Casual Vacancy but I am really looking forward to reading this. Besides its a murder mystery written by J.K.Rowling. Double the awesomeness in one book.





2.And The Mountains Echoed by Khalid Hosseni:
I don’t really read books the minute they are released if they are not a series book. So this time I was like I will try to read the latest releases a little earlier. Lets see how that goes. And I just love the cover of this book.






3. Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon:

I recently found out about the Outlander series and they sound awesome. It has a total of 8 books out of which 7 are already out. I hate reding a series and than waiting for the next book to come. So this is perfect for me.

4. The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas:
This has been on my TBR for so long that I cannot even remember. But somehow every time I pick it up, I end up putting it back. And its from one of my favourite authors. I have high expectations for this book because I have seen the movie and it was excellent. I love Orlando Bloom.








5.Inferno by Dan Brown:
This has been the book that I have waited the most for. I love Dan Brown and his books. But I want to buy it and then read it. Unfortunately, its sold out where I live. So I have to wait for the stock to come.



6.Gemma Doyle Trilogy by Libba Bray:


I really want to read this or at least one of Libba Bray’s books this fall. The plot sounds really good and I have heard great things about it.

7.The Fiery Heart by Richelle Meade: (Bloodlines Book 4)
Adrian and Sydney ! Ofcourse. Who does not want to read about them ? When Richelle Mead released the first two chapters of the book, I went all gaga and I was swooning over Adrian. Besides this summer I have read heart wrenching book, I am in dire need of Adrian and his witty handsome self.

…SAP…

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Would Love To See As A Movie/TV Show

When it comes to books made into movies and TV shows, I do not have a good experience. Ofcourse, they cannot capture every minute detail in a 2 hour movie. And the best example of this disaster is none other than Harry Potter. But like any other Bibliophile, I still have hope that someday all the movies will be made like I want. It will have the cast as I visione it and everything from the clothes to the props to locations will be of my choice. That has not happened yet but you never know. 

Top Ten Books I Would Love To See As A Movie/TV Show (set in a perfect world…in which movies don’t butcher the books we love.


1.Looking For Alaska by John Green:

The main reason I want to see this as a movie is because of all the awesome pranks they do. I love pranks and have done my share of them in middle school. I really want to see the last prank that they do in the book, being done in real life. I think that was the best part about this book. 

2. The Girl Who Played With Fire by Steig Larson:

I watched The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo first and than read the book. I loved the movie, so I did contemplate whether to read the book or not. But ofcourse I read it. And I have to say, it is the first book that has been made into a perfect movie. There are literally no changes, not a single word or scene. So I really am looking forward to watching the rest of the movies as well. 

3. I am the messenger by Markus Zusak:

If the essence of this book is portrayed on screen, than this will be a perfect movie. It is different than your average romantic or comedy or action movies. 


4. Amar Bail by Umera Ahmad:

Being  a huge Umera Ahmad fan, I obviously want this to be turned into a television show. But I want it to be perfect with the dream cast who can actually create magic like Umera does in the book. And this is almost impossible. But I do hope that it happens.

5. The Thief Lord by Cornelia Funke:

This book was in my brothers books. I just picked it up to read it at the dinner table but I have to say, I ended up falling in love. The story is so awesome. This book made me want to have a gang of my own and be a thief. And till today, I had no idea that it has a movie as well. I haven’t watched it yet but I hope it is upto my expectations. 

6. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:

This is one book that is never made into a movie right. Something is amiss in the movie. And I hate that. Although I did sort of get the perfect version through the Lizzie Bennet Diaries which is almost perfect. But I do want a movie. 

7. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:

I just heard that a movie is being made and Ben Afflick has been cast as Nick. I think he will do a good job. But I want the movie to be like the book. I want to decide between good and bad on every scene of the movie. This book has very strong and complicated characters and the movie will be nothing if the actors don’t do a good job. 

My movie watching strategy is that I do not go for movies made on books. I watch the movie regardless of whether it is a book or not. But now I have to keep track, so I don’t end up watching the movie before the book. And as far as movies are concerned, I am an action person. So my movies and books, thankfully, rarely cross paths. 


…SAP…

Top Ten Books I Wish Were Taught in Schools

This is actually very ironic. I remember reading What Katy Did, Oliver Twist, Robinson Crusoe, etc in middle school but when I moved to Qatar in 6th grade, class reading changed drastically. There was no concept of reading novels as part of a syllabus. Our books had excerpts from different classics which was very boring. So obviously, for me I would have loved to be taught books in school. Because I know how much fun it is, reading and having book discussions over a book. These are some of the books that I would have loved to read in class with the amazing English teacher I had.

Top Ten Books I Wish Were Taught In Schools:

1. The Count of Monte Cristo :

This is a perfect high school book. It is a classic. So all the teachers who are more into literature and classics will not oppose this. It is a story of revenge, betrayal, trust, integrity, patience, everything that one would want in a book. It took me about a week to read it and it is 1600 pages long. But it is worth the read. And this is my most favourite book.




2. Hunger Games:

Or any good dystopian novel. High school is like playing Hunger Games. Instead of districts, there are different groups from the most popular to geeks, drama queens etc. Its all about surviving in those four most important years of your life where you have to enjoy your teenage life while making a future for yourself. Reading such a book gives you the satisfaction that you are not alone in this fight of yours with the world. And it is not boring.

3. 19 Minutes:

This is such a perfect book. I read it after I finished High School this year and I truly understood what bullying does to a person. It breaks you. It destroys a person. This should be taught so students would know how it feels to be bullied. I know that not everyone is attentive in school, but even if you get the message across one person, that is all that matters.

4. Paper Towns:

When I finished reading this book, I so badly wanted to discuss it with
my English teacher. There were so many things I had a problem with and I thought to myself, damn, I wish I was taught this in school. It has a lot philosophy in it which needs class discussions and a teacher to make you go into the depth of things. I understood the story but I know I would have gotten much more out of it.


5. I Am the Messenger:

Aaaaahhhh. Markus Zusak. What should I say ? The message of this book is beautiful. At first you might not be into the book but it leaves a life lasting impact on you. After reading this book, Zusak shot up on my Best Author list. This is for all the lazy asses out there who instead of doing something in life, just lie around waiting for things to work out by magic.





6. Little Women:

I read this book when I was very young and I loved it. It is my mothers favourite book and I think this was the first classic she bought me. Its such a great story of love, family, friendships and so much more. Jo and Larry are my favourite characters and I was devastated when Jo says no to him. That was the first time I wanted to have a sister, looking at the fun that Jo, Meg, Amy and Beth have. I have read this book countless times, so obviously I know their names by heart.



7. The Book Thief:

Teachers want their students to learn something new everyday. What is a better way of learning what Nazi Germany was like than reading about it from a very different perspective ? I have read a lot about the era of Hitler and Nazism but this was such a different read on a very common topic. And its a book about a girls love for books and words. Nothing can be better for me.

…SAP…