Category: book review

I am Malala – A review

I am Malala – A review

Title: I Am Malala
Author: Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb
Price: Rs 295/-

How often does it happen that you’re just finishing a book and a reviewing challenge comes up? First, I’m not big on reviews.. writing them that is. I love reading them though.

‘I am Malala’ is a book I’ve been wanting to read for a long time for lots of reasons. Though I’m not much for autobiographies I love women protagonists and one as brave and inspiring as this one made it a sure read for me. Also, I have always been curious about life in Pakistan because they are so close and so like us yet so very different in many ways.

All those reasons made the book a compelling read.

This is the story of Malala, a young Pakistani girl, who is passionate about the cause of Women’s education. 

Malala was the eldest of three children. Both her younger siblings were boys. Despite the bias against girls that was/is prevalent in Pakistan, much like India, she remained her father’s favourite. Her mother was illiterate yet a very forward thinking woman. However, it was her father who influenced her most. He was a speaker and an educationist and ran schools of his own. She would sit near him and listen to him as he told stories or later, discussed politics. As she grew older she started going out with him to deliver talks on the need for education. They would talk at rallies and meets and at radio stations.

She traces the political upheavals in Pakistan – Musharraf’s coming to power, Benazir’s assassination, the Taliban rise, 9/11 and it’s effect on Pakistan and also Osama’s capture. 

Her relatively happy life as the brightest student of her class, changed when the Taliban took over the Swat valley.
“I was ten when the Taliban came to the Valley. Moniba (her friend) and I had been reading the Twilight series and longed to be vampires.”
What it must have been for a free-thinking, Twilight reading, bright young girl to suddenly be barred from school, is hard to imagine. From worrying about whether she would top her class yet again she had to start worrying about how long she would be able to go to school at all. 

However, Malala and her friends refused to be cowed down by the Taliban. They would hide their books under their shawls along the way to school. She talks at length about life under their rule. She derived her strength from her father who canvassed tirelessly against them. She also wrote a blog for the BBC under the pseudonym Gul Makai.

When she was 15 in 2012, on her way back from school, the Taliban shot her in  the head at point blank range. Nobody expected her to survive. But she did and despite her experiences, continues to champion her cause even today.

Her’s is a very fascinating journey and that makes the book a great read. 

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Baramulla Bomber

Baramulla Bomber

Baramulla Bomber
Author: Clark Prasad
Publisher: Niyogi Books
Number of Pages: 315
Price: Rs 395
When I first read about Baramulla Bomber
I was intrigued. One, because I’ve read some great trilogies over the recent
years (this too is Eka, part I of a
Trilogy) and two, because the concept of the book sounded very interesting.
It is an ambitious novel to say the
least, spread across multiple countries – Sweden, Norway, the USA and closer
home Pakistan, China and India.
It is peppered with characters as
diverse as ever – a Kashmiri cricket player, a Swedish intelligence agent, a
Pakistani scientist, an Indian Defence Minister and many many more.
It has international relations, politics,
border skirmishes, religion and even some cricket thrown in for good measure. 

What more could one ask for?

The plot:
A blast is heard in Kashmir’s Shaksgam
valley that flattens out an entire area.
A dying Swedish agent leaves a coded message
before he succumbs to mysterious injuries.
A mountaineering team disappears without
a trace.

Indian agencies suspect a secret weapon was
tested in the valley. Pakistani sources insist it was a mining accident while
others say it was an earthquake.
If it was a weapon what kind was it? If Pakistan is readying
to use it how can it be stopped? Was it the same that killed the Swedish spy? Those
are the questions that are bothering India’s Defence Minister Agastya Rathore.
But Pakistan is not his only worry, China is readying for an offensive at India’s
borders too.
And amongst all this is Mansur – a simple Kashmiri man who
dreams of being a part of the National Cricket team without ever really
believing it possible.
The review:
The novel is pacey and you do find yourself turning the pages
eagerly enough. And here’s a warning – This is not a book you can read with the kids running around or the TV blaring. So if you really want to enjoy it look out for a quiet corner.

My problem with the book is it’s climax. The buildup is exciting but the climax is a bit of a letdown.
Perhaps due to the nature of the weapon, it doesn’t leave as huge an impact as promised
by the beginning. I found myself saying “Is that it?”

Also, although there are a number of characters, the books loses
out for lack of a single, charismatic all impacting hero and on the other side there
is no single truly malicious, malevolent villain.  That’s purely a personal view –  that’s how I like a book to be.. specially a thriller.

Then there are some unanswered question?

What were those UFOs?
What’s the story of Agastya’s wife?
Are the members of the mountaineering team dead or alive?
When the guardians meet – if the meeting was such a huge
secret – how come an outsider was near the site?
Of course there are Part 2 and 3 in the offing. I’m hoping I’ll
get my answers then.

This review is part of Blogadda’s Book Review Programme.

On my other blog: Beat About The Book

The Girl Who Drank the Moon #BookReview

The Girl Who Drank the Moon #BookReview

Book: The Girl Who Drank the MoonAuthor: Kelly Barnhill This is the story of a town, a cursed town. On its outskirts lies a greater forest. In this forest lives a wicked old witch. The witch demands sacrifice and so each year an infant is taken away by the town elders and left in the […]