Amazing book finds of the weekend

7:46 PM

We finally got some rain (not enough, but still) this weekend. So much so we decided to hit South Mumbai to take in the sea breeze on Marine drive, followed by breakfast and an impromptu and much needed stop to Kitab Khana.

If you live in Mumbai, chances are you know about that charming book shop near the Flora Fountain. It's one of these cosy old style book store with lots of wood, comfy stools and a kid area that invites people to stay in for hours.
What makes it even more special, is that it stocks some less easy to find in other book stores kind of books and it does so at a reasonable price too.

This is the kind of book shop that invites the bookworm that I can be splurge on more books I ever planned to buy in one sitting.

This Sunday was no different, and between Ishita and I, we packed quite a loot. Some of them too good not to share.
I managed to track them all on Amazon, and to my delight, I realised I paid much much less on some of the imported books, I'll still give you the affiliate links to said books should you wish to have a look (and buy, it's definitely encouraged here).

The first book I mostly bought for myself is this one:

You can draw it all

I got attracted to it because it has a bright cheerful cover, I bought it because the inside totally delivers with quick drawing ideas and tips to draw many things. Drawing cartoon people has never been my forte, and this book has plenty of tips and tricks to make the process easier, I'm always for discovering new tricks. Plus, it's a book that Ishita can also use down the line (not yet, but soon)

Creative Crafts for kids

This one, I bought for Ishita, mostly because she can't sit still in front of Pinterest and I don't want her to use the computer at will. It's much nicer to leaf through a book to get craft projects ideas (valid for grown ups too).
This book is one of the one that I scored at a steal price in Kitab Khana : 595 rupees, as you can see, Amazon wants a great deal more money for it.
Still, it is a great book, full of colours, easy to follow steps and enough projects to keep your little one's imagination going. It evens contains a few recipes for those who prefer eating their creations. 

Oodles of Noodles

This is another of these amazing imported books that the book shop sells at a very reasonable price, and another real gem of a story. In a domestic market that is now mostly dominated by Barbie, Dora and Disney Princesses books with poor writting and poorer stories, I welcome books that sets kids imagination on fire. 
This one delivers : a pasta machine going crazy that leads to a town-wide noodle invasion? What's not to love? Not only is the story hilarious, the illustrations are amazing as well. 
Kitab Khana is wort it should it be just to dig out such gems of stories. Now you know why we go crazy everything we visit the place. 

Frog on a log

This is a book that Ishita chose simply because she could read it all on her own in the shop and made her feel good about herself. While the story is definitely more of a toddler one, it is a good way for early readers to practice reading their "family words" and phonics. 
The book has flaps with hidden text and pictures that make it even more fun for kids to read on their own. 

The art of creative thinking

This book is pretty much an impulse buy. I was making my way to the check out counter, my arms loaded in books when this one caught my eye. Mostly because if it's compact hard cover look, the kind of sturdy book that you can shove in your bag. It also has a nice pristine and smooth cover. It was screaming "Pick me, oh Cyn! Pick me!" 
And I picked it up! 

It is a book that all of you sceptic minds who think creativity is an inborn talent. A book for you lot who think thinking out of the box and giving the finger to rote learning is bullshit. A book that will prove to you once and for all that creativity starts with how you think and how our society is affraid of people having a mind of their own. A book you MUST read if you think you must be an expert at something to have a successful career. A book that is an homage to my lot of creative crazies and people that refused to be boxed...Yes of course it was screaming at me to pic it up, that book is all about me. 

Aside from these books above, we picked a few more kiddie books that fall in the rather unimaginative Franchise type, namely Barbie and Thomas the train that aren't really worth mentioning in this blog post, since after all it is all about my AMAZING book finds of the weekend. 

So what have you guys been up to? 

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  1. Well, my son has grown up. But having said that, many children's books can be good read for elders as well, if you have noticed. Some of them can end up as good stress busters.

    I think I must check out the last one you mentioned. Nowadays, we have to be creative, not just at work, but in our everyday lives too.

    1. I still love children books, they are fun to read, and have a lot of pictures, I find it sad that the mark of being a grown up is to ONLY read serious books with no pictures in them :-)

      Be prepared about the fact that The art of creative thinking is not meant to be read in a linear way though. It's a book you can read out of order, one chapter at a time and by keeping the bread crumbs the author leaves at the end of each chapter. It reminds me of these "Choose your adventure books" I used to read as a kid :-)

    2. Anonymous11:08 AM

      I wish I would keep reading children's books. They are so much fun. Between his academics and therapy, my son has his hands full. We have put him in skating and drum classes. It is very difficult for him to concentrate and after a lot of frustration, he is finally getting a hang of them. Something new and a welcome addition to his life. It draws out his hyper activity and he sleeps at night. We would like to continue with either one of these activities when school starts and there is time constraint.

      Meanwhile, I took leave and got our kitchen done and our hall painted. The walls of the hall were totally spoiled by my son. We used the washable paint, let's see whether it can withstand any 'accidents'. I understand it is can stand crayons and colours but not permanent colour like stamp ink. Everyday it was a struggle getting after the labourers to get thing done properly in time. We finally got a modular kitchen with an electric chimney. Quiet a mean achievement when we were tying to get it done for years.

      Talking about children's books, have you read "Panchatantra" the ancient book with moral stories for children with animals as the main protagonists. Many of these stories have actually travelled to far off countries. Hey, does Ishita read children books like "Champak", "Chandamama" etc.?


    3. In Europe we have La Fontaine who did moral stories with animals. But while they are fun to read, I think it is better for older kids. I think all stories that involve moral should wait until a kid can read them on their own because it also mean that before that they don't have the level of comprehension to understand the moral aspect.

      Right now Ishita is in love with Peppa pig books because she can read them on her own and understand what she is reading. Before the age of 10 reading is all about building confidence in reading skills rather than the content.

      I had that washable paint thing in our previous flat, crayon, and pencil wash right off. You can also get washable markers off IF you catch it quick enough, probably the same with stamp ink, permanent markers won't come off :-)

      So how do you like the chimney? They are common fixture in most flat and houses in Switzerland, and I miss them here, they absorb a lot of the greasy fumes and shed some extra light on the stove area. Our current flat has room for one, and I have been toying with the idea of getting a basic flat one that can be taken off and into the next flat for a while now. I am getting sick and tired of the greasy film on the backsplash area behind the stove and my maid's leniency in cleaning that spot. Last year I spent over an hour with my powerful steam cleaner set on high pressure steam to get the gunk off that wall.

    4. Oh and I think you should keep on reading children's book :-) they are so relaxing, and a reminder that we all should disconnect from being too serious all the time :-)

      I would still visit the kid section of my library in Geneva on weekends, even as an adult without children of my own, just to read the books and look at the pictures. It is a very relaxing activity, plus it gives you the satisfaction of reading a book in 10 minutes, cover to cover :-)

  2. Anonymous10:36 AM

    The Panchatantra stories actually travelled to Europe after it was translated in Persian. It remains one of the most translated works. Many of the popular stories we know are actually Panchatantra tales.

    The washable paint is thicker than the distemper paint but we have not tried to test its efficacy LOL. We are waiting for our son to make the move. We had to get it done because he totally destroyed the walls with an ink seal. Originally, we only wanted to get our kitchen done. This was an extra expense. Everyday the labourers used to come promising to complete the work in time and the work got postponed to the next day. Eventually, it was done much to our satisfaction.

    We really do not know how effective the chimney is. The chimney should be big enough to cover almost the entire stove area as we were told. The chimney almost covers the three burner gas stove but a four burner stove may be a problem. It also depends upon the power of the chimney. The most ugly part is the silver pipe which looked like a steel anaconda. We painted it in the same colour as the kitchen walls and got the chimney covered with a wooden box of the same colour as the cabinets. It would be interesting to see how much effective the chimney is after say six months.

    About children books, my father was wise enough to subscribe to children books like "Champak", "Chandamama" etc. both the Hindi and English which helped me develop my vocabulary. They had moral stories from Indian mythology and folk tales. There is legendary comic series called Amar Chitra Katha which has wonderful illustrated pictures on Indian folk tales, history, mythology etc. Once Ishita grows old these would serve as wonderful stories. They are very good and informative.

    I used to devour comics, books, novels etc, anything written kind of attracted me. When I got bored from Children's books, I started reading women's magazines in Hindi on which it was boldly written "for married women". I am glad I did, I got a lot of " correct information" which many girls/boys do not get before marriage. It helped me to make wise decisions after marriage. Then I moved on to "other kind" of literature which most boys are attracted on at that age. I even read Mills & Boon romantic novels secretly which my sister used to borrow from her friends. Have you read Mills & Boons novels? These novels were a craze among young girls in India some twenty years ago, I don't know what is the case today. I just read everything from the trashy to the fantastic.


    1. You will need to clean the filter of the chimney every 6 months or so and it will stay efficient. The suction power of the chimney will in all likelihood cover that fourth burner.

      I heard that both Femina and Cosmopolitan are for "married women" in India, I used to devour them when I first arrived, mostly for the shopping guide and getting an idea of what was available and at what price.

      The content of these magazine is what teenage girls magazines in Europe and US contain. I find it kind of sad that magazines that answer questions about sex, and reproductive health are said to be only for married women. Keeping girls in the dark about their own changing bodies and hormones simply because there is no "Mr" in their lives could create more harm.

      Growing up I was hooked to a French teen magazine that had several Reader's question column, one for each topic : health, psychology, and beauty. Anything from period woes to STDs was covered in the Health section and often came as a complement of information to what we were taught during the yearly sex ed workshop in school. I think it is important to keep all line of communications open with teenagers.

      I know Mills & Boons :-) and Harlequins which publish the same type of romance filled novels. I read a few as a teen.
      My favourites were mystery novels though, and I devoured many of the Mary Higgins Clark novels.
      As a teen I also enjoyed "The Baby Sitters Club" series, that is how I first started practicing my English. I must have read a fair chunk of all the books published in the franchise.
      I think most girls in my generation could relate to at least one of the character, and since Baby Sitting is pretty much the first paid job teenagers get in the West, we could all relate to it too, and admire the entrepreneurship spirit the book series displayed.

      Then I moved to fantasy and sci-fi novels, and I still love this genre today.

    2. Anonymous11:44 AM

      Women's Era, Femina and Cosmopolitan in English are not as popular as the Hindi magazines. There are articles on "how to have good relations with MIL", "how to have good relations with husband/wife" etc. and there are whole issues that particularly deal with it considering that MIL/DIL problem is the No. 1 problem in India. There are may men who also read these magazines. The stories reflect the many problems and dilemmas of Indian middle class life.

      I read an article on contraceptive methods in one of these magazine which was quiet comprehensive. It made me be aware of a lot of things. I knew what not to do while I was a novice. This helped a lot since my wife like any good Indian girl had no clue. Even some men feel awkward about these things. Real thing is entirely different ball game. I thank these magazines for enlightening me. At that time I was made to believe that I was doing something illegal.

      I read Mills & Boons which are called sexist because it caters to stereotypes, strong men and delicate women. The hero was indifferent most of the time and sometimes even rude. The women was in distress, wondering whether the hero actually loves her. This goes on and on like a broken record, till at the end of the novel the hero shows his soft side. This actually presents a regressive narrative of weak women always dependent on men. I don't know why girls are interested in such sexist stories and how could someone fall love with a rude person. Then I read a few Sydney Sheldon novels and some James Hardley novels, all secretly ofcourse. I was drawn to the graphic description of you know what. How could someone write like this, it was fascinating to say the least.

      Some of the best literature I read was the stories in our school curriculum. Shakespear, novels of Charles Dicken like David Copperfield, Great Expectations etc. and poems and stories in Hindi. They have stayed with me a long time.

      The gap between the childhood and adulthood is never filled in India, I wish there is more literature for teenagers in India. A giant leap which leave many confusing questions. We kind of figured out everything ourselves. We as a society is slowly coming to terms with these things but it difficult. May be in five ten years it may happen. This is also responsible for the shame associated with these things and crimes again women.

      About the chimney, we were told to dip the filters in hot water every fifteen days and size of the chimney compared to the gas stove also makes a difference, so the chimney comparable to the size of the stove. The size of the kitchen also makes a difference. You don't want to end up a cramped kitchen especially in a small kitchen.


    3. Oh yes the Mills and Boons books are really sexist and cheesy. They are after all disposable literature, the kind you pick up at the airport because you are bored and need a quick distraction. As a teen I read a few, like everybody else, but I moved quickly to something a bit more fascinating. I remember pointing out to my parents that if the school made me endure reading Tristan and Iseult in the name of culture and poopooed Mills and Boon style of novels they were hypocrite.

      I kind of had a point there, Tristan and Iseult is all about cheesy romance, forbidden love, ordeals and trials and the only thing that saved it from being the Mills and boon of the 12th century was the fact that not many novels were written these days. I still find it amusing that centuries later, the genre still does well in more modern avatars.

      I did not enjoy the French classics as much while in school, as a teenager, I was not fully equipped to appreciate them and certainly didn't care much about the teachers making boring lectures and gloating about how marvellous these stories were when there were more accessible and more contemporary stories teens could read while broaching the same topics and themes. As a grown up? Yes, these classics make more sense :-)

      In Highschool it didn't help that we had to read 2-3 French classics in one trimester, and add one book in our Philosophy class, one in our German class, one in our Italian class, one in English class and still be left with all the science classes assignment, and repeat the ordeal for each of the 3 trimesters. So naturally, we all skipped certain reading and read the Cliff Notes instead :-)

    4. Anonymous1:05 PM

      Tristen and Iseult I believe is a story based in Roman Britain. It was made into a movie and I kind of sympathized with the lovers. I think Mills & Boons are kind of popular because many girls do believe that their true love is tall, dark handsome manly type which in reality most men are, well very ordinary and also they do not have beautiful clothes and accessories like women. Just plain unlucky, I guess.

      The Mills & Boons had a cult status like all things which become a fad in India. This was 1993, when India was opening up, so I guess it made sense. I specially liked Sydney Sheldon novels and read a quiet a few of them "The Other Side of Midnight", "Rage of the Angles", "Windmills of God", "Sands of time". Something more elaborate meaty compared to the Mills & Boons which were all the same. Can you imagine each one of these stories were exactly the same Though I must admit the James Hadley Chase novels always had a racy picture on their cover, I did not know why.

      I was specially interested in Indian mythology and history and I kind of read Mahabharata and Ramayana and all the stories associated with it to such an extent that I can now point out in a mythological TV serial if they have given some weird twist to the original story. Indian mythology is quiet fascinating. My only lament was I could not read Bengali. As soon as I learned the language all on my own, I read everything. This was also a welcome addition to my knowledge.

      I believe written word no matter where it comes from, broadens the horizons of mind. There is place for everything. Our mind is like the dish which requires masalas of all kinds to make it complete.

      As soon as my son learns to read, I plan to subscribe to all those books that I read as a kid and set him on the path of self discovery. Let's see what happens.


  3. Anonymous8:41 PM

    Those Amar Chitra Katha which apple is talking about are truly gems and loved by all kids. They have a range from European, middle eastern, Chinese folk tales to Hindu mythology and of course the freedom fighters of India and some biographies of famous Indian as well as world wide personalities. The best part is that they're illustrated in that comic style and the vocabulary is quite good as compared to some atrocious Indian comic books. They're so easy to read. Not being a Hindu I never read mythology but found those chinese, middle Eastern and European folk tales thoroughly entertaining as a kid. And i bought those exact copies a while back from amazon. You might want to check them out later. And thanks for all these recommendations. It really helps when people share good books because they're truly hard to find and wasting thousands of bucks on something I don't know would annoy the book lover in me. :-)

    1. Anonymous9:45 PM

      Apart from the stories of amar chitra katha, I think the drawings are of very high quality much better than any comic I have read.



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