Conversations by Rajeev Nanda – book review

I received this book in exchange for an honest review through Blogadda.

At first glance, the book seemed wonderful. The pleasant cover page has a picture of three coloured chairs, in front of an old, patchy wall. It reminded me of a painting I’d seen a long time ago, of an old man sitting outside his old house, with a cane in his hand, and a dog at his side. The title Conversations stands out against the pale background. And the effect told me what the title meant to me – conversations, yes, but with yourself.

Conversations is a book by Indian author Rajeev Nanda. The author is an IT professional and is also the author of How To Map Out a Viable E-Strategy, along with various articles, both technological and academic. His new book Conversations is a collection of thought provoking short stories and poems on various aspects of life. The basic underlying theme of the stories as well as poems is, of course, what gave the book its title – discussions and conversations.
As I read the introduction, I was sure I would like the book. The book turned out to be quite unlike what the introduction suggested. This sort of reading isn’t usually my cup of tea, and I think this book proves why not. At the risk of sounding judgmental, I would label the book pseudo-intellectual.
“The stories and poems in the book have resulted from my years of observing people around me and then mulling over various challenges and dilemmas we face in life. Therefore, I think it is better for this book to introduce me to you rather than me trying to introduce this book. I will consider it as the success of this book if it makes you think, reflect and develop new perspectives.”
Quoting just what the author says in the introduction, I believe he should have mulled over just a tad bit more. You see, the emotions discussed in the book, the challenges that were uncovered weren’t deep enough. The poetry seemed child-like. The stories touched me, but they didn’t give me a perspective that I haven’t already read in a thousand other self-help books, that I haven’t seen in a thousand other movies. Like I mentioned before, this isn’t my kind of book – but I chose to read it, because people do surprise you sometimes.
I would have liked to read a book that retells normal incidents, narrates normal stories; that end up being something more than just normal. Instead, what I get is a collection of stories planned to impress; planned, even, to preach hefty life lessons. This book is nice. But it could have been one that stays with you for a long time, after you’re done reading it. The feelings mentioned in the book didn’t keep me awake in bed. I can’t say I even thought about the book once I put it down. I only really liked a couple of stories, a few poems here and there; that’s it.
That being said, I liked the writing. The author has a good command over the language, the wording is simple but effective – and there isn’t any slang or teen-talk. There were some obvious clichés, but what I called ‘pseudo-intellectual’ never got too cynical. The writing is humble, and the book is honest. It is clear that the writer means what he says, and that’s more than I can say for most authors.
This review is a part of the Book Reviews Program at Participate now to get free books!

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