Non-Fiction books

Welcome to Day 02 of #BookReviewBlogChallenge. The theme for today’s book is Travel or Vacations.

For today’s prompt I am choosing the book “Thailand” which I received as an early reviewer copy from #NetGalley.

  • Title – Thailand
  • Author – Narisa Chakrabongse

I’ve always been fascinated by Thailand’s natural beauty after seeing Bond island and the gorgeous Phi-phi island which has been featured in movies galore. My sister-in-law and her family visited the country 2 years ago, and had such a great time that this immediately got added to my bucket list.

This book is a blend between a travel guide and a photography book, with breathtaking images from all corners of the country. Think Fodors meets National Geography. Once you read the book, you will fall in love! ‘

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

This book is amazing – and anyone reading it will feel compelled to visit the country to experience this beauty. The stunning images and detailed information about culture, important sites and history make it a fabulous read. I love hiking and visiting National Parks, and never knew Thailand had such gorgeous parks! This book just brought Thailand to the top of my travel list, so I can see all these items firsthand.

There is a lot more to Thailand, than just the glitzy streets of Bangkok, and this book catalogs those gorgeous vistas, and getaways. Its hard to pick, but I loved the images of the Buddha statue park, the 300-years-old Sai Ngam and Wat Non Kum temple in the Nakhon province.

For travelers who have never visited this country, this would be fantastic guidebook so they can make the most out of their visit. Others who have visited before, will want to read this to see what they’ve missed and plan a future trip!

So here is the Question of the Day (QOTD) – what is your dream destination? Honest answers please, your favorite travel destination can be completely irrelevant to the book you choose for today! 🙂

Similar Works:

  • Books – “Lonely Planet India” . National Geographic Magazines.
  • TV Series – Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown, Lonely Planet documentaries.
  • Genres – Travel, Travel Pictorial Guides, Southeast Asia travel guides

Until next time, happy reading!

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Welcome to Day 01 of #BookReviewBlogChallenge. Today’s prompt is “Dreams & Ambitions”.

Before I begin, thank you to everyone who participated already and commented on the welcome post. So many amazing books, they all made me smile and added a sparkle to my day! Special shout-outs to:

  • Isabella for the stunning book cover for Sarah Maas book, and
  • Camilla for choosing the cheerful Matilda by Quentin Blake

For today’s challenge, I am going with a memoir that really should be made into a movie! 🙂 This book is a perfect muse for the “Dreams & Ambitions” theme, as I would love to be as bold and vivacious as Iris and look back at life (at 60+) with the same joy and wonder, and minimal regrets! 

  • Title – Iris Apfel accidental icon
  • SubTitle – Musings of a Geriatric Starlet
  • Author – Iris Apfel

This book is an autobiography and memoir of the vivacious and brilliant Iris Apfel. The author is an American businesswoman, interior designer, and 98-year old fashion icon! The book is filled with many interesting thoughts and stunning photographs of a life well-lived.

REVIEW SCORE = 5/5 *****

Thoughts on this Book:

Iris Apfel - day 01 #BookReviewBlogChallenge for prompt Dreams & Ambitions

For those who have never heard of this amazing personality, let me start by saying that the author’s list of accomplishments is more numerous than her birthday candles next year! Some highlights from her life, which most impressed me, are as follows:

  • Pioneer reporter
  • Interior designer and decorator for the White House, for 9 different US Presidents! Whoa!
  • She has her own line of cosmetics with the global brand M.A.C, and she modeled it too! Probably the oldest model to ever do so!
  • Fashion icon – with 1.4M followers on Instagram!
  • Her designs are displayed at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art (MOMA), one of the most prestigious temples for anyone in the art and creative industry.
  • She even has a Barbie doll designed after her!

The book itself has infectious joie de vivre and pearls of wisdom you would hear from a loving and extremely “cool” grandmother. Naysayers will point out that she was fortunate to be born into a rich, business family. I will remind them that in the 1940s, US had limited rights for women, so it is still inspiring to see the trailblazing paths the author has tread!

The best takeaways I divined from the book is that Iris Apfel was never scared of failing or looking stupid (something we all suffer from!). Instead of choosing the safe mundane path, she chose to create her own amazing life and leverage all the opportunities life offered to her!

I loved the entire book, but my favorite chapters are:

  • Love and Marriage
  • Your Smartphone is not Your Brain
  • How to Live to be 200

If you like fashion or want an espresso shot of creativity, then read the book! If you like vivid colors or just want to start your day, read this book! If you want to try something new, then read this book!

Just try it once, you will love it for sure!

Similar Works:

  • Books – “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis. “Why Not Me” by Mindy Kaling.
  • TV Series – Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. The heroine in this series is as vibrant as the author.
  • Genres – Memoir, Motivation, fashion design.
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Welcome to Day0 of the #BookReviewBlogChallenge!

Today’s task is to add a post on any book that sparks joy in your life! It could be a book that makes you laugh, a book that brings back fond memories, maybe the first book you ever bought on your own salary! 🙂

Write a 1-line description of why you love this book along with the cover image; no word count rules today! Then post the link to your blog or Instagram link in the comments.

For me, this book by Robin Sharma is a favorite read. Love the bite-sized chapters and the mood boost they instantly provide. Its like a prose form of a cup of steaming hot chocolate after a cold winter commute! 🙂 Another lovely part of this book is that it actually belongs to my husband, who introduced me to the beautiful world of self-help books and inspirational authors like Robin Sharma, Brian Tracy and Malcolm Goldwell.

Images of two of my favorite chapters are added below:

Happy Reading!

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Who is not impressed by a rocket scientist?
I certainly am, and I’ve also had the privilege to meet a couple retired ones in real life!

But I did not think there was any process to emulate their ability to think about solving problems with no known solutions. So the description of this book captivated me completely.

  • Title – Think Like a Rocket Scientist
  • Subtitle – Simple Strategies You Can Use to Make Giant Leaps in Work and Life
  • Author – Ozan Varol

Review Score = 5/5 *****

Compared to bestselling author, Nassem Taleb’s book “Black Swan” is the unlikely event that disrupts industries and bankrupts businesses, like a pandemic or housing bust. This book is the answer to avoid getting hurt badly when such situations, and they will happen at some point or the other, no doubt about it.

Whether you are a student, entrepreneur or mid level executive, this book will help you improve your critical thinking skills. You will emerge with new ways to innovate, see patterns and a fresh burst of creativity. The best way to describe it is as a crash course equivalent to an MBA business strategy class.

Nine brilliant thinking processes that you can use to boost your career.

Side note, the cover and title were so compelling, I only read the recommendations AFTER I put in my #NetGalley advance review request.

Did you know? This book comes recommended by:

a] bestselling authors like Adam Grant (Wharton professor and author of “Originals”) and Daniel Pink (“Drive”) ,
b] Tech titans I follow, like Satya Nadella and Bill Gates.

Honestly, did not think the request would be accepted, but being a Top Reviewer (see badge on right) seemed to help my case. So I figured I would get to the book ASAP, and also add a review.

In all fairness, my 5* review is 100% honest, and not at all swayed by the amazing other people who have praised this book. My review after all, is for regular readers like you and me, who read for entertainment or learning. Plus, I have read so many non-fiction books in the past that I can decipher (or so I like to believe!) when books are simply rehashing generic concepts or regurgitating content from a hundred other books.

In this book, I was looking for practical strategies to hone my critical thinking skills, and possibly ideas to accelerate my career. The book delivered everything that I expected and a little more! I got some wacky ideas for my website promotion, and early testing seems to show more positive response than I expected.

Brilliant book. 100% recommend to readers in all industries and stages of their career.

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Hilarious look at everyday life, for a celebrity writer and actor!

  • Title – Why Not Me?
  • Author – Mindy Kaling

Part memoir, part motivational, its easy to see why this book hit the NY Times bestseller list. As a successful woman of color in an industry that glorifies White, male stereotypes, Mindy is certainly a role model to women and minorities everywhere. Unlike other biographies written by celebrities, she does not use a holier-than-thou, preachy tone. Instead, this book is written in a hilarious, honest and tongue-in-cheek manner that is wonderful to read. And it includes pictures to give you a true behind-the-scene look of the writer studio, sets and her makeup routine.       

REVIEW SCORE = 4.5/5 *****

I loved Mindy in “Late Nights” and know her as the writer/actor from “The Office”. However, I’ve never read any of her other books or seen any episodes of her hit series “The Mindy Project”. I took this book on a recommendation from someone I admire, who has heard Mindy’s interviews, and felt she is an amazing role model whose authenticity and sense of comic timing is brilliant.

I found the book at my local library and admit that the book did not disappoint. The book is not really an autobiography, because it does not chronicle the life of Mindy in detail. It’s more a memoir along the lines of Bill Bryson’s books like “Notes from a Big Country”, or any standup comedy monologues (think Bill Griffin or Amit Tandon) where the speaker is presenting a series of random thoughts and incidents in an extremely hilarious way. Yet, there is an underlying pithy truth and the dialogue forces you to look at seemingly mundane items in a completely new perspective.

The book does not self-aggrandize or preach, and even those who hate self-help books will be chuckling in delight. Mindy is hilarious, yet she manages to imbibe pearls of wisdom in each chapter. I loved the chapter countering the myth of the work-life balance and her stance on “hard work – the thing no one wants to talk about”. A handful of celebrities rise to fame with social media, and suddenly there is an unconscious and damaging pressure to become successful without putting any apparent effort! We almost seem to look down on folks who work themselves to the bone and reach the top of their field.

The only reason I did not give this a 5* rating was that the last chapter about advice to young women should have come much earlier! It’s so beautiful, yet the content was almost relegated to the very end. I was almost planning to skip that chapter, but I am so glad I did not. Felt the chapter deserved to be the second or third, or at least closer to the middle than so far back.

Who will benefit from reading this book?

  • Everyone! If you are a woman of color, you can read it for motivation.
  • If you like standup comedy, you will LOVE this book.
  • If you only want to read books for entertainment, the stories are sure to put a goofy smile on your face! 😊

Go ahead, read this book! 100% thumbs up!

Similar Works:

  • Books – “Girl, Wash Your Face” by Rachel Hollis. “You are a Badass” by “Jen Sincero”.
  • Movies – Late Night, Legally Blonde, Bridget Jones Diary, The Spy Who Dumped Me.
  • TV Series – The Mindy Project, Ugly Betty.
  • Genres – Memoirs, Motivation, Humor, Personal Essays.

Happy Reading!

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