Adi’s reading challenge

Adi has planned to do a monthly reading challenge at IMC starting September. She is very much excited about it and I am also reading the book. This month’s book is Homer Price by Robert McCloskey. Please see below link for more details and support her by spreading the word to the kids of age range 8-12 years that you know of..

Thanks to Team IMC for considering her idea..

Book Review – The Secret Keeper by Beverly Lewis

This is my first attempt on book review. Marathon is all I needed to step out of my comfort zone.

Disclaimer: I am not a very good critic. I cannot pass my detailed review comments firmly on anything. Like how the movie reviewers clearly says “the movie did not have a story line, the screenplay was not good, they have wasted this particular character, the role did not suit this hero, the second half is little dragged”. No, I cannot pinpoint like that. For me, its either good or bad. 

Here is my maiden lame attempt on reviewing the book.

Book Title: The Secret Keeper (Book 4 in Home to Hickory Hollow series)

Author: Beverly Lewis


Jenny Burns, born and brought up as a modern era girl at Connecticut feels that she doesn’t belong to the modern world and decides to move to Amish village as a seeker. She, with the help of her friend Marnie Lapp, moves in with the Lapp’s Amish family. She learns the ropes of living as a Amish woman from Rebecca Lapp. She struggles at first, growing her bangs, wearing plain dress, sitting for long hours at church with a growling tummy, gaining the confidence of Rebecca’s husband, Samuel Lapp yet continues to do her best to pass the proving.

In the process, she befriends many Amish people including Andrew Lapp – the surprisingly not-so-young-yet-not-married Amish man and Ella Mae –  the elderly Amish woman who is kind enough to arrange for a Thanksgiving dinner for her.  Jenny also learns some secrets and finds a place in many local people’s heart. Andrew expresses his interest on her, Jenny gets into the good books of the bishop and as all seems rosy and favorable to her, she decides that knowing the secrets, she cannot be true to herself, she cannot pass the proving and decides to return to the modern world.

Did Jenny return to the modern world? Did she stay back and pass the proving to become a Amish woman? Did she hold on to the secret? What happened to her relationship with Andrew? You should read the book to untie all these knots.

The book beautifully narrates the lifestyle of Amish world leaving the readers to wonder if such a community still exist. I loved this book for its characters. Every character is friendly by nature and gets close to your heart.

Adi picked this book for me from the library and I am glad she chose the book. 

2012 Reading list

Reading is something that I have resumed after so many years in 2012. One of the best thing I have done in 2012. Thanks to all my blog friends who have inspired me with all your reviews. Yayyyy, so I have a list too 🙂

SnS, Smitha, Scribby, RM, Swaram – a beeg thanks to all you lovely ladies.

My primary source is the local library that’s 3.5 minutes away by walk from my home. Can it get any better? The library will top my “to be missed” list when I move out from this place. The people there are so friendly and the best part is even if the book is not available at their branch they help you to get the book from other branches.  If I need a place to spend few hours all alone then my feet will invariably turn towards this library.

I also refer this site for recommendations –

They have books categorized based on reviewer’s rating which makes it easier to choose. They are doing an amazing job.

Not to mention Adi is my tracker. We share bookmarks, we discuss about the book I read, she sets target for me, we challenge each other, when we read together at bedtime (I mean both sit next to each other and read our own books) she will share interesting snippets from her book that is followed by giggles and clueless M (the man who touches books only to pass it over).  I love these moments and I love that lamp next to my bed that glows during our bedtime reading every day night.
Without further ado here is my list from 2012.

1. Steve Jobs – by Walter Issacson

2. Parthiban Kanavu (Tamil) – by Kalki

3. The Palace of Illusions – by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

4. The most beautiful thing – by Fiona Robyn

5. How to Eat a Cupcake – by Meg Donohue

6. The White Tiger – by Aravind Adiga

7. The Twentieth Wife – by Indu Sundaresan

8. The Feast of Roses – by Indu Sundaresan

9. Shadow Princess – by Indu Sundaresan

10. In the Convent of Little flowers – by Indu Sundaresan

My nose is now buried into

11. The Splendor of Silence – by Indu Sundaresan

Kalki’s other novels and Shiva trilogy are on my list for 2013. More suggestions are welcome…

Tracking my reading here –

Spring break and books

Long post alert..

I start the post wondering what to type, proceeding to type few lines and then the post grows like a Hanuman tail forcing me to warn my readers. Does this happen to you too?

Spring break is here. The school was closed on last Thursday afternoon and is reopening on 16th April.

On Thursday afternoon Adi came home with her friend N as her parents requested us to pick up the kid. Both of them spent the afternoon at home, exploring Adi’s long touched toys, playing board games, watching Alvin and the Chipmunks and I was working from home watching over them. Around 4pm I asked the girls if they want to visit the nearby library. They agreed provided I promise to treat them with pizza. So, after mutual agreement we spent a good one hour at library. Adi was happy to find the latest Magic tree house book # 47 “Abe Lincoln At Last” and settled with it, N settled with few reading books and myself with “Palace of Illusions” on my Kindle. I was determined to finish it on that day and did finish it at 1am 🙂 . I know I know I must be the last one in the blog world to read this book but I deserve a pat on my back as at last I pulled myself to stay up late to finish the book rather I couldn’t really put it down.  It was mesmerizing to read about all those familiar characters again especially Karna though some details were contradicting to what I knew about the epic.  The very next night I watched the age old tamil film “Karna”  and listened to this song at least hundred times so far to quench my thirst. I have not got over it yet. The song sung by Krishna when Karna is at his death bed at Kurukshetra war. Krishna sings this song praising Karna’s qualities and the fate of his life.

Here is a translation I found from google search for the mind blowing lyrics by kavignar Kannadasan. Planning to watch the digitized version of this film that is soon to be re-released.

With this not being enough I have now started with the next book “Parthiban Kanavu” by the great legend “Kalki“. This is a re-read after almost a decade for me.  I am loving it :). Hoping to finish it in a day or two.  Special thanks to SnS who shared the books, Smitha and Scribby whose constant book reviews kept me reminding of the pile I had, all of you who have been posting book reviews as part of Blogadda book review program, to my daughter who is developing her reading habits and my friend who gifted me the Kindle :). I kept reminding myself if all those really busy people can find time to read I can definitely find the time to read and here I am.  Hope I continue with this 🙂

Enough of hijacking, coming back to Aditi’s spring break (sounds like a break to me from the post so far huh?) I took the girls to the library, we hanged out there until I reached my reading target for that evening and then took them to Dominos. Treated them and self with cheese pizza, chicken pizza and came back home. When N’s dad came home to pickup and asked how was the play date the girls said in unison that “I spoiled it by taking them to library” 😦 though they enjoyed the pizza on the way back home.

Friday was mommy/daughter day as M had to go to work. We set out in the morning, watched Lorax 3D in big screen,  went to a friend’s home as his wife called to check what we were doing on a holiday and invited us, played Carrom and surprisingly I pocketed the queen and follow :), had yummy food, a nice chat session post lunch, Adi watched back to back 4 Dinosaur Train episodes and left their home around 4ish in the evening. The girl was asking me about this big escalator at Exchange place train station. So, we walked to that station via a beautiful boardwalk and climbed the escalator at least 4 times 🙂 and then boarded the train to home. We reached home around 5pm and Adi right away started to play in backyard with the kid from next door when I was about to crash on the bed with my laptop. Man I wonder how does kids have so much energy?  Only the film was a planned, rest all was unplanned and the day turned out to be a pleasant day.

Saturday, the plan was to take her to an Easter egg hunt at a distant NY place but we dropped the plan at last moment, woke up late, then decided to go but again dropped the plan as it was already late and the place is around one hour away by drive. The girl was very much upset so I searched for some egg hunt at local, luckily found one and in the next 15 recording minutes we were there from the just-up-from-bed state to the park 🙂 I can assure that we brushed, don’t ask me about bathing and other sorts 😉 ok?. The girl hunted hand picked the plastic eggs lying around and had fun for next two hours. When I asked if she enjoyed the Easter egg hunt she corrected me that it was not a hunt but it was an “Easter egg pickup” event. lol.. She is using the language better than us :). Then, we had buffet lunch at an Indian restaurant near home and literally rolled home with an about to explode tummy.

Rest of the weekend was spent at home reading books, playing board games and having our own “ME” times without stepping on other’s shoe. We are good or rather bad in that ways. Adi at living room glued to her TV or craft or book, your truly at Kitchen or bedroom glued to her laptop or book and your’s truly’s other half at the other bedroom glued to his office laptop.

Oh did I mention it has become a weekend ritual at home. Adi making breakfast. She is so adamant about this and after enjoying the breakfast for past three weeks I can now proudly record it in this blog. No No No child labour and all. She wanted to do it guys and gets mad if we don’t let her to. So, as a so-called-democratic parent I sat back and said “Go ahead indulge me darling”.  She wins her share too as she can get all the things done from us for rest of the day. She goes like this “Guys since I made breakfast for you today I want you to ….”. We will hear this line at least a hundred times on the day she chooses to make the breakfast. This is what I am getting for my breakfast. Toasted wheat bread with Kissan jam spread. The fact that more jam finds its way to her tummy during preparation can be ignored. Can one of you please show her the other breakfast ideas too? You see I am already bored with just this one option 🙂

On Monday I was working from home and today its M’s turn. We will alternate this for rest of this week and I might take a day off but no plans  to step out 😦

Next post will feature her recent drawings and clay models. I am impressed with her work so far.

God books

We recently chanced upon some Indian books at local library. We are regular visitors to this library for past four years and I am still wondering how did we miss these books. It was pleasant surprise for me when Adi showed liking to these books. She calls them as “God books”. I can get any work done from her if I promise her to read a God book at bedtime. This is the girl who is yet to show interest on the Amar Chitra collections we own. I have tried many times to read the Amar Chitra books to her but for some reason she is not attracted. Some day for sure. I am waiting for that day 🙂

We started with the book “How Ganesh got his elephant head” written by Harish Johari and Vatsala Sperling, Illustrated by Pieter Weltevrede.

What I liked the most in this book is it covers most of the Indian gods. Considering this as Adi’s first religious official book it was a good start for me to talk to her about  Brahma, Shiva, Parvati, Vishnu, Narada, Karthikeya, Ganesha, Shivaganas. We took around one week to finish this  book reading few pages every day giving enough time for the story to sync in. The story begins with Parvati creating Ganesha for self protection and ends with Ganesha winning the game of coming around the world. How he wins we all know ;).  Smart Ganesha isn’t he? That also gave me a chance to show off the  importance of parents to Adi. That parents are everything for the kid and the kid should always listen to  them and so on and so forth… The poor girl strongly nodded her half-sleeping head and dozed off half way through my lecture. Who would  like to miss a chance to show off? 😉

Upon next visit to library Adi was in search of God books by herself. This time we checked out “Little Krishna” by Harish Johri and Illustrated by “Pieter Weltevrede”.

This book starts with Devaki getting married to Vasudeva, travels through arrogant nature of Kamsa, Krishna migrating to Vrindavan, his mischievous pranks, Yasodha’s unconditional love for him and ends with how he kills Kamsa. We took enough time to finish this book too. Illustrations were awesome. Adi closed her eyes with two hands when we read about Kamsa killing Devaki’s children one after the other and when she saw the picture of five headed snake guarding Krishna when Vasudeva carried him across the river. She equally enjoyed the pranks played by Krishna (butter thief) at Vrindavan..

Next book was “How Parvati won the heart of Shiva”  written by Harish Johari and Vatsala Sperling, Illustrated by Pieter Weltevrede.

This book deals with determination. It talks about how determined Parvati was in achieving her desire. That is the one line story of this book. Adi was aware of most of the Indian God by the time we read this book. It was amazing to see her recollecting the details from “Ganesha” book. It was a nice read.

And now we are reading Buddha stories. Its a collection of one page moral stories. Two stories for a day night :).  As we read a story about a bull teaching a lesson to its master who was ill treating the bull Adi interrupted and said amma always remember “Treat others the way you want to be treated“. I was awestruck.  Later she said her Kindergarten teacher told this to her class kids last year.  I am so pleased that she remembers it still. Hope she continues to remember and follow this rule all her life.

On a different note Adi is done with her antibiotics and is feeling a lot better now but still recovering. 90% of her body and face rashes have cleared off but hair fall has increased exponentially. We had cut her hair as short as possible last weekend.  Hope she will be okay soon..

She is having a class event at school this week and performing in another Indian party this weekend.  Her semi-private swimming classes are starting this Friday and her school is arranging for a Thanksgiving multicultural feast on Monday.  I am still working on my menu for the feast.  We are hands full for next one week. More details about all the events will be posted next week.  Please wish her good luck.

On a different different note this is Adi’s first art project from art class. She bought this home last week.

And she drew this for me yesterday though she claims “tracing is her thing and art is not for her. It seems art is not her forte” 🙂

I am sitting here and wondering when will I know my thing 😦 do I have one?