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Articles by Vani Mahesh - Founder, EasyLib.com

Taking it slow
Decccan Herald - October 13, 2013

The Rataban Betrayal, Stephen Alter, Penguin, 2013

1969, Jigme, an eastern Tibetan Khampa tribal, watches the mighty Himalaya — buttressed with ice falls and glaciers — in melancholy. He prays silently for the fellow trekker, an American, lying dead on the ice and who will soon be left alone for a sky burial.
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Parade of horrors
Decccan Herald - August 26, 2013

Ma Jian’s latest book, ‘The Dark Road’, gives a gruesome insight into China’s one-child policy. Vani Mahesh describes the author’s attempt to portray Chinese government’s oppression of its people.
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Focus on mothers
Decccan Herald - April 20, 2013

Of Mothers and Others is an anthology compiled to champion the worthy cause of the ‘Save the children’ foundation. “The sad truth is that one’s chances of survival mostly depend on where one is born, and into which strata of society.
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Failed expectations
Decccan Herald - April 9, 2013

Sergeant’s Son, Ashim Choudhury’s debut novel has all the initial elements right. A title that promises an unusual protagonist and a synopsis that makes you want to know more about him. Add to this Shashi Tharoor’s testimonial and the beautiful poetry by Walt Whitman and Wordsworth that the author begins the book with, and your excitement starts to build...
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Old wisdom retold
Decccan Herald - Feb 22, 2013

The freethinker’s prayer book Khushwant Singh
The Freethinker’s Prayer Book by Khushwant Singh is best described in his own words: "If you have a good bullshit detector, it is possible to separate the sublime from the ridiculous and derive inspiration from the words of prophets and poets, gurus and rogues, grave men and clowns. I have done that nearly all my life and put down in my notebooks hundreds of lines from different sources that appealed to me. The best of these have been collected in the pages that follow." 
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Ties that bind & gag
Decccan Herald - Jan 30, 2013

The title Kith and Kin, Chronicles of a Clan tells you at the very onset that the stories here are snugly interlinked to one another and you will see characters carry over from one story to another. This is quite comforting. 
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Dear women, please embrace your curves!
mDhil - March 6, 2012

Doesn’t size zero imply you don’t exist?
Being thin and fit are two different things. Do not obsess over size zero, instead take a cue from diet and fitness experts and put to practice healthy eating and exercising, writes Vani Mahesh.
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How to get your child to become a reader 
DNA - December 29, 2010

There was a time when a child who hadn’t yet learnt to read could bank on grandma’s storytelling. Grandmas happened to know thousands of stories, so that was alright. Now our mothers have become grandmothers and let’s face it — they just don’t know as many stories and we mothers cannot recollect what we have heard from our grandmothers. Wher will our toddlers get their stories from?
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39 Clues
Deccan Herald

With ‘The 39 Clues’, Scholastic has made its foray into the world of online gaming. There are trading cards with unique codes too!
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Peace with Mathematics
DNA

Most children hate mathematics. Well, most adults despise it too. What makes this subject inaccessible to the majority?
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Literature of Nature
DNA

Nature writing springs out of an acute love for nature. Though it is backed by scientific facts, it is mostly what a writer has observed repeatedly.
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Children's Fantasy
DNA

Children’s fantasy is now a genre that spins money. Bookstores are teeming with books by Rick Riordan, Christopher Paolini, Jonathon Stroud, Eoin Colfer, and many more.
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Fantasies With No Fangs
DNA

After the phenomenal success of the Twilight saga, it is raining vampires for teen girls — Vampire Academy, Vampire Diaries, Vampire Beach —– the list is endless. But there is a world of fantasy fiction that is equally or more enthralling than vampires and werewolves
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Manga For Boys
DNA

A couple of years back, someone gave me an English translation of a Japanese comic, saying it was in the ‘Manga’ format, which was getting to be quite a rage in the US. The comic was to be read from back to front and its panels from right to left
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Of Epic Value
DNA

For me, the word heaven brings to mind Apsaras dancing, Gandharvas singing and Indra and other gods drinking Amrita. A mention of Shiva and the vision I conjure up is snow-covered Himalayas with Shiva and Parvati smiling. Think of Vishnu and it is the tranquil looking god relaxing on the seven-headed snake Adishesha.
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Understanding India
DNA

Most of us urban parents face the same problem as NRI parents. We have to make an effort to cultivate an interest in India in our India-bred young!
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Short Reads for the Young
DNA

Today children at any level of reading and comprehension have plenty of choices that match their interests.
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In Honour of Horowitzbr
DNA

Antony Horowitz is synonymous with his protagonist Alex Rider in the minds of his young fans. Super spy Alex has hooked boys with his James Bond like action and adventure.
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Classics Cut Short
DNA

Is it sacrilege to allow children to read abridged classics? Those who say so contend that an original is how the author meant to tell the tale.
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Science Made Entertaining!
DNA

Consider this fact: “Blue whales are marine mammals that are about 100ft long and weigh 200 tonnes. Though gigantic, they feed on tiny shrimp-like animals called krill.
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Edge of the seat suspense
Deccan Herald

With the Internet ruling our lives, we know about the latest bestsellers. Most book lovers follow blogs and online reviews to keep themselves posted about happenings in the book world. Social networking sites ensuring that a good book is discussed and debated.
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Naughty Kids and harried parents
DNA

Naughty children are a pain but they are also the most entertaining, especially when you are just an onlooker. When my neighbour’s child washed his grandma’s silk saree in the toilet bowl or when my nephew smeared yoghurt all over their brand new 52” LED TV in a bid to paint it white, with all due sympathies to harried parents, it was funny!
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Study Methodically
DNA

A common gripe from parents, especially from mothers who double up as tutors at home, is that their children do not work hard enough. And they are right. We see many intelligent kids who are not necessarily diligent students. Why is it so? How can we help children achieve the success they are capable of?
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Urban dreams
Deccan Herald - August 26, 2013

Many have written about the class divide in India, but only a few, like Lavanya Sankaran’s ‘Hope Factory’, have managed to capture the aspirations of these classes, writes Vani Mahesh.
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Spotlight on poverty
Deccan Herald - 13 June, 2013

India has 33 percent of the world’s poorest, says a recent survey. Unfortunately, it is just a number we momentarily look at with shock and then forget all about.

Poverty in India is no doubt the most distressing, but what is most depressing is the apathy of the society and the government towards the poor. While the society conveniently looks through the plight of the underprivileged, the government does nothing much to uplift them. Not stopping at that, the government actually creates poverty with its policies or by the lack of policies, shows Jaideep Hardikar in his book A Village Awaits Doomsday.’
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Towards a better India
Deccan Herald - October 6, 2012

When Chetan Bhagat, the quintessential youth magnet, started writing a weekly column for a major daily, he quite surprised many. Because he did not write about lost loves and education at IITs, but opined about the political affairs in India. The book, What Young India Wants, is a compilation of essays from his columns.

When I picked up this book, I wondered what a youngster would get out of reading these essays. A lot, I felt, right after the first two essays. The writing had the potential to inspire young minds to do something to better our country or at least to make them pause before casting their votes.
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North-east troubles
Deccan Herald - September 2, 2012

Assam has been burning with political unrest and insurgency for years on end. Unfortunately, many of us in mainland India neither know the history of this disturbance nor its effects on people who live there.

Suravi Sharma Kumar’s Voices in the Valley attempts to showcase the social and political horrors of small town Assam as well as the beauty of the land. The novel is a four-decade account, from the 1960s to the late 2000s, of Assam, told through the protagonist, Milli.
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Sky train to Tibet
Decccan Herald - September 16, 2012

Sky Train, a compelling book by Canyon Sam opens to its readers the trauma of Tibet after the Chinese invasion and military takeover in 1959. The book lucidly narrates how Tibet, a once peaceful Buddhist country, is now almost left bereft of its religion and rich culture under a strict communist rule.
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It's Time for Africa
DNA

For most of the urban world today, Africa is a mere safari land. It is a pity that the intense history and culture of this beautiful place is largely ignored. However, thanks to the literary world, Africa comes alive through beautiful writings of the land.
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Power Reading
DNA

“The Power of Acceptance,” “The Power of Love,” “Power Nap,” “Power Yoga,”— we are inundated by power somethings lately. But in most cases, the P word is used only because it sells. Power Nap could well be ‘Short Nap,’ Power Yoga ‘Speedy Yoga’ and The Power of Now ‘Being in the Now’ — but marketing gurus feel otherwise.
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Don’t skip your yoga class 
DNA - January 27, 2011

When you browse through books on yoga in any bookstore, you will find the first few rows filled with beautiful glossy ones with attractive models in yogic postures.
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Self-service help 
DNA - January 5, 2011

Self-help is the most popular genre in non-fiction. These books are written in a simple and informal language and address issues that are common to many. We are living in an age where everyone is overcommitted and stressed out, and are looking to be calmer, slimmer, or more efficient. So books that address our urban insecurities and provide us with educated solutions are actually quite welcome.
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Detective Fiction
(Deccan Herald)

Readers seem to enjoy an adventurous romp with a known hero more than befriending a new one, discovers Vani Mahesh Crime fiction in a series or in stand-alones — which is more appealing?”, was a question raised at the online library EasyLib.com’s book club meet. The easily reached verdict was strongly in favour of the crime series. Reason?
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A mind of one’s own 
DNA - December 8, 2010

My Yoga teacher is a true blue Gandhian. He insists that Yoga is not just a form of exercise but a way of living. During a class, he asked if any of us remembered where and how we had left our footwear. Some started thinking, some tried to peek outside, some smiled sheepishly — but none of us remembered. “The first step towards being a Yogi is to be mindful of your thoughts and actions — all through your waking hours.
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Make friends, influence people 
November 11, 2010

Friends, who come in plenty when you are a child, suddenly become a rare commodity when you step into adulthood — especially when you relocate. Most people you meet in your new surroundings will already be comfortably in their cliques and breaking into one is quite a Herculean task.
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Mind Matters
(Deccan Herald)

The number of reprints that Dr Joseph Murphys The Power of Your Subconscious Mind has seen is indicative of peoples quest for the elusive inner strength. As we observe readers of self-help books at our library EasyLib.com, the ones on mind mastery and the power of thinking seem to be the current favourites. James Allen has set the stage for the recent successes such as ‘The Secret’ and ‘The Law of Attraction’.
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Comic Fantasy
(Deccan Herald)

'Fantastic' Comedy... How do we classify Terry Pratchett's DiscWorld series - as fantasy or humour? After pouring over this question much at our online library EasyLib.com, the consensus was to shelve them in humour.
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Befriending a Sleuth
Deccan Herald

Readers seem to enjoy an adventurous romp with a known hero more than befriending a new one, discovers Vani Mahesh
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Techno Thrillers
Deccan Herald

Can you recommend a writer like Michael crichton?” is probably the one question most asked at our online library EasyLib.com. Those who ask are techno savvy readers, who are no longer held captive by regular whodunits and they are not too keen on slow paced ‘Science fiction’. Crichton’s books provide an excellent middle ground for such readers, by deftly weaving science and a cutting edge technology into a racy plot.
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Blurring the line between TV and books
DNA

There is an undeniable charm for readers in seeing books they have read come alive in motion pictures. From Gone With the Wind to the recent Twilight, the cinemas have amply catered to this passion. Now television has stepped into the arena: more and more books are being made into serialised shows.
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Self Service Help!
DNA

Self-help is the most popular genre in non-fiction. These books are written in a simple and informal language and address issues that are common to many. We are living in an age where everyone is overcommitted and stressed out, and are looking to be calmer, slimmer, or more efficient.
Read more...

Make Friends
DNA

Friends, who come in plenty when you are a child, suddenly become a rare commodity when you step into adulthood — especially when you relocate. Most people you meet in your new surroundings will already be comfortably in their cliques and breaking into one is quite a Herculean task.
Read more...

The DNA drama
DNA

War thrillers, espionage thrillers, medical thrillers, legal thrillers, crime thrillers — the thriller genre has seen more hues than any other. A recently-popular addition to the list is forensic thrillers — books that detail the latest forensic technology to solve crime.
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