Review Talking to strangers #Malcom Gladwell #allenlane #selfhelp #newbooks

Title- Talking to strangers

Genre- Science, psychology

Pages- 400

Author- Malcolm Gladwell

Publisher – Allen Lane

My Rating- 4/5


It is third Malcom Gladwell book I have read.

Title of the book doesn’t reveal much. It is much more than talking to strangers.
It is not about communication skills in particular and not any boring self help book you find splattered all over the book shelves.

It is a book that will take you on a ride. It will i form as well enthrall you.

Book is full of very interesting; real events put together in a basket; as author plays with them analysing them through lens of his ideas.

One thing is for sure, you dont get bored anywhere and second he gives you a lot of stuff to google about.
That is a good thing.

Book analyses how poets die early, how overpolicing can kill general public, what a suicidal person needs absolutely and study of double agents.

What I disliked is too many long scandals with graphic details of physical intimacy; which could do with a little less dissection of actual events. I didn’t connect to sexual scandal cases which are over elobrated

I like the way author starts each chapter and how he makes a homogeneous dough of higly varied facts and different scientific streams.

I am definitely hooked to his writing style and will like to read every work that he has published.

Review- Gumshoe blues by #blogtour#thriller #blackthornebooktours #virtualbooktoyr

Title- Gumshoe blues

Publisher- Independent

Pages- 112

Author- Paul D Brazill

Genre- crime thriller

My Rating- 4/5

It is a short crime novel based on Seatown private investigator, Peter Ord.
He was a teacher who dropped out to be a private eye.
Stories are small and decorated by intelligent descriptions if scenes and situations. There are innovative takes on common events, like wobbly finger.

Characters are multiple with story line changing for better at every page end.
Narrative is enjoyable, without
complexities and events invariably return to bars and there is a lot of booz.

He frequently uses metaphors comparing people and places with popular film and music personalities and athletes.

Dark humaor binds the cases and words like whiskey, vodka, brandy, cold, rain and farts, fly appear regularly.

Not a long boring, uselessly burdned thriller book, but short Quirky and interesting stuff you are going to like.

Conversations between characters is in captivating dialect; that keeps predictability at bay.

Thanks Blackthorn tours for reading opportunity. I look forward to read other works by the author.

My first Murakami book

Happy Tuesday to all.
I came after some delay.
It was natural. I was reading Murakami.
He writes long books.
I read , Norwegian Wood.
On a gentle look, It is a weired book.
A marginalised confused youth, who speaks very less and drinks a lot.
And it is a dark book. Sadness soaks it to deep and if you leave its red cover out it is totally devoid of light.
Protagonists fall for each other but never to synchronise.

What they like is there for them but they cannot have it.
They just cannot get normal.
Even if they walk on beautiful winter morning, cicads crush under their feet.
Just on exterior it is a bony book. Too hard to enjoy and cobtinue but still you keep going reading it, just for unexpected flairs it exudes.
What makes it beautiful is that Murakami has wrapped it in white soft silk of his prose which softerns its sharp edges , so that it does become harmless to reader.

It is full of alcohal, insomnia, lonliness, letters, longing, graphic intimacy, music and lots of mental turmoil.

But it is still a beautiful story which clings onto readers mind and grows slowly in size, till readers gets a deep sense of satisfaction, having read a masterpiece.
And as I read Killing commandatore, feeling of deja vu envelopes me.

Another socially marginalised character who is soaked in art and music and goes on aimless vigil through unknown streets of Japan before settling down in absolute striking solitude.
Looking forward to read other works of genius writer.
I wish it could be a little happy book.

I could not make sense of what Watanabe did with Reiko at last. It was weired.

But I doubt , it would have become famous then.

It is painful but it is worth reading by everyone.

Q & A with Cecilia Aragon Writers in the Secret Garden; #authorinterview #virtualbooktour

Q & A with Cecilia Aragon
Writers in the Secret Garden: Fanfiction, Youth and New Forms of Mentoring

1. Where did you grow up/live now?

I was a shy, nerdy girl who was too smart — and, as the daughter of immigrants from Chile and the Philippines, a complete oddity in the Indiana town where I grew up. So I left early and headed for college in California. Then I spent 20 years in the California Bay Area, and today I live in Seattle, where I’m a professor at the University of Washington.

2. As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An astronaut, a dancer, an actor, a professor, a mathematician, a scientist, a writer — maybe all at once. Oh, and most of all, a magical person who could fly without wings. 🙂

3. What is your education/career background?

As a child, I was torn between a love of math and science and a fascination for reading and writing. So, in college, I double-majored in math and English literature. At that time, I really wanted to study computer science because I thought it was so cool, like having a bionic brain, but my undergraduate school didn’t offer it as a major. Then when I started graduate school in computer science, a professor told me that women didn’t have the intellectual capability for the field. I got discouraged and dropped out. Then I worked for many years as a software developer. Twenty years after getting my BS, after overcoming my fears and lack of confidence by learning to fly upside down (and by winning a medal for the US in international competition as a pilot on the US Unlimited Aerobatic Team), I returned to school, finally completed my PhD in computer science, started a career in scientific research and became a professor, my dream job.

4. Do you have kids and/or pets?

I have a daughter and a son, and my daughter has a pet spider named Marinette. When I was a child, I had a dog named Luna. Building on a true story about our friendship, I’m currently writing a middle-grade novel called The Algebra of Dogs and Silence about a lonely Latina girl and a dog nobody wanted.

5. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write?

I wrote and illustrated my first picture book when I was four years old, with the immortal title Wasting Kleenex. By the time I was ten I was writing lots of stories, including a lengthy fanfiction based on Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I wrote an original novel when I was nineteen that I have sworn no one will ever see. But I didn’t seriously start working on writing as a career until ten years ago. Since then I’ve written over a million words. Maybe about 1/3 of that is fanfiction, 1/3 original fiction, and 1/3 nonfiction.

6. Where/When do you best like to write?

I have hand injuries and can’t type, so I write using voice recognition software in my home office.

7. Do you have any interesting writing habits or superstitions?

I like to get up early and write first thing in the morning.

8. When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?

I work on a new project. I have way too many ideas, so if I’m stuck on one, I can always find another that excites me.

9. What do you think makes a good book?
Something that immediately makes me curious about what happens next, or how something happened. When I read the first chapter of a book and it gives me chills of delight, I know I’m in for a wonderful experience.

10. What inspired your book?

Katie Davis and I met by chance over lunch at an event at the University of Washington. She’s a professor at UW’s Information School who specializes in digital youth, child development, and education; her interests dovetailed well with my expertise in human-centered data science and the study of very large text data sets. Over lunch, we happened to discuss recent news stories in which “experts” claimed that young people couldn’t write – and agreed that we didn’t believe it. My teenage children and Katie’s young sister all defied this stereotype, writing lengthy stories, sophisticated essays, and actively participating in fan communities. This contradiction struck us as fertile ground for research, and so our collaboration began.

Over the next several years, we extensively studied what was happening on fanfiction websites from both education and human-centered data science perspectives. What we found was eye-opening and also very encouraging.

About the book-

1. The findings discussed in our new book include:

• Most adults either have a negative view or are unaware of fanfiction, and the impact it is having on the lives of many young people today.

• On alone, 1.5 million authors have published over 7 million stories and shared over 177 million reviews of those stories.

• The median age of authors on the site is 15 1/2, with over 82% between the ages of 13 and 21.

• 73% of authors on the site are female; and more fanfiction authors identify as gender-nonconforming (13%) than male (11%).

• Young people are teaching each other how to write through the feedback they give. This new type of mentoring is unique to networked communities. Called distributed mentoring, it is described in detail in the book.

• The quality of the writing improves in response to the amount of distributed mentoring the author received. (650 reviews predicts as much growth as one year of maturation).

• Despite the fact that readers post reviews anonymously, comments are overwhelmingly positive, with less than one percent gratuitously negative.

2. How does a new story idea come to you?

Is it an event that sparks the plot or a character speaking to you?
I have so many ideas; the problem is finding time to write them all out. When I’m walking, or riding the bus, or reading an interesting news article, I’ll often come up with a new story or research idea. I usually get several of them every day. My files contain so many story ideas that I won’t have enough years in my life to write them all.

With fanfiction, what often sparks an idea is a plot hole in canon, or a missing explanation as to why the characters behave the way they do, or simply a desire to put two interesting characters together and see what happens. The most fun part about writing fanfiction is I can get a story idea, post the first chapter online, and get immediate feedback on whether I should continue or not.

I have tons of first chapters of original fiction languishing in my file cabinets or on my hard drive that I’ve never shown to anyone, and so I have no idea whether they might appeal to readers. But with fanfiction, I can post a chapter and if it gets an enthusiastic response with dozens of reviews in the first day or two, I know it’s worth continuing.

That kind of instant and voluminous feedback is characteristic of distributed mentoring online, and is extremely valuable for a writer. As a matter of fact, many published authors who’ve written both fanfiction and original fiction have commented on the sheer abundance of fanfiction feedback, and how much they love it.

3. Is there a message/theme in your book that you want readers to grasp?
We should trust young people more. They are teaching each other how to write on their own. Maybe we should support them and provide them guidance with learning rather than creating artificial structures and standardized tests.

Also, fanfiction doesn’t deserve its bad rap! We talk in Writers in the Secret Garden about the important role fanfiction can play in society.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned when writing?
First, the breadth and depth of the fanfiction community. We had no idea that millions of young people were writing and reading fanfiction, and what’s more, that they were finding their identities and teaching each other how to write.

It also surprised us to find a new type of mentoring among young people in online communities, what we ended up calling distributed mentoring. Rather than traditional one-on-one mentoring, young people are mentoring each other in small pieces that all together make up much more than the sum of the whole. We describe distributed mentoring, how it arises, and why it works in detail in the book.

4. What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?

I have a demanding full-time job, a family, and take care of special-needs family members. My husband is sick and unable to work, so my job provides our only income. My father has Alzheimer’s, and I’m his primary caregiver. It’s always difficult to carve out enough time to write.

6. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Ursula Le Guin, Henry Jenkins, Rebecca Black, JK Rowling, Lloyd Alexander, James Schmitz, Sylvia Louise Engdahl, Zenna Henderson, Roger Zelazny, Sally Watson, Ruth Nichols, Dorothy Gilman and many, many more.

7. Have you won any awards or honors (not just for writing)?

I’ve won multiple poetry and essay contests, was named one of the Top 25 Women of the Year (2009) by Hispanic Business Magazine, won the Vaunda Micheaux Nelson Award from Lerner Publishing Group in 2017, and was a finalist in the Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Contest in 2019.

Other than for writing, I’ve won many scientific research and teaching awards, including multiple Best Paper awards at academic conferences, a Fulbright Fellowship, the Distinguished Alumni Award from UC Berkeley, and the student-nominated Faculty Innovator in Teaching Award from my department at UW. But the one that made me the most proud was the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (“the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on outstanding scientists and engineers in the early stages of their independent research careers”) — when I received it, I got to shake President Obama’s hand!

Also, I won many trophies in my flying career. I first won a slot on the United States Aerobatic Team in 1991, and I hold the record for shortest time from first solo in an airplane to membership on the US Team. I was also the first Latina to win a slot on the US Team. I was a bronze medalist at both the 1993 U.S. National Aerobatic Championships and the 1994 World Aerobatic Championships. I also won over 70 trophies in regional aerobatic competitions at the Unlimited level and was California State Unlimited Aerobatic Champion in 1990.

8. What person(s) has/have helped you the most in your career?

When I was a child, my father encouraged me to believe in myself despite repeated discouragement from peers and teachers. As I got older, just like in distributed mentoring, no one single person has helped me: instead, I owe deep gratitude to a multitude of mentors, from peers to professors, from friends and family to random strangers who gave me feedback.

9. What’s the best writing advice you have ever received?
Believe in yourself.

10. What was your favorite book as a child?

So many… The Earthsea trilogy by Ursula Le Guin, the Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander, the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J. R. R. Tolkien, books by James Schmitz, Sylvia Louise Engdahl, Zenna Henderson, Roger Zelazny, Sally Watson, Ruth Nichols, Dorothy Gilman…

11. What is the one book no writer should be without?

Impossible to choose — I’ve collected over three thousand books during my lifetime, one paperback at a time!

12. What are you working on now?

My memoir: Flying Free: How I Used Math to Overcome Fear and Achieve my Wildest Dreams, about my journey from fearful, bullied child to champion pilot and beyond. It’ll be out from Blackstone Publishing in fall 2020.







Review The Innovation Mandate by Nicholas Webb #harpercollinsin #businessbooks

Title – The innovation mandate

Author – Nicholas J Webb

Publisher – HarperCollins

Pages – 224

Genre- Business and Investment

My rating – 4/5


In old times a company found a particular product or service;

It captured the market ( Competition was low);

And then it did same things in same way;

And reaped rewards for long.


But this is not possible now.

Speed of change in technology;

And change in competition is so fast;

They if company misses out on a particular breakthrough ; it is hard to come back.

It happened to Kodak, Nokia, many retails and many smaller firms.

.And it is happening everyday everywhere.

I got it 4 days back from #harpercollibsin as a review copy.

Today I finished this really useful and concise work; about role of innovations in the survival and longevity of a company; in present times of Moore’s law destroying accelerations in technology.
After reading it; It is appropriate to say that;

1. Biggest risk is not taking risk.
2. Staying still and same = failure
3. Average life of a corporation is shrinking.
4. Innovation can be incremental like #Toyota or disruptive like #netflix #amazon #uber #SpaceX #iphone



It is full of highly readable information and covers all aspects of process and principles behind innovation.
There are examples from real world of which few we may know already like Xerox, apple, Amazon but there are lots of new engrossing stories.

There is little bit of repetition but as a package book it is relatively free of useless data, jargons and overstretched paragraphs.

It is generic infirmation about role of innovations in every aspect of life and being; not specifically restricted to a business or corporation.

Principles can be applied to everyone and everything.







Review book Trick mirror by Jia Tolentino #essays #politics #feminism #bookblogger

Title- Trick mirror

Author- Jia Tolentino

Publisher- HarperCollins

Pages- 320

Genre- Essays

My Rating- 4/5




Essays are generally serious, less enjoyable, informative and slowly flowing pieces of writing.

But they always deal with important stuff.

This book is not for leisure readers. It needs your full attention and patience and humility to let it confuse you for long stretches of time before something palatable comes around.

If I wanted to summarise it, it is strong feminism by a seasoned journalist who is particularly repulsive to present nationalism and political scene in USA.


Things that I found good for an average reader-

1. seven scams of last decades are very interesting to read and best part of book according to me.

2. lots of literature. Relationship of women and literature and marriage and literature is deeply explored. You go through lots of book summaries while reading this book.

3. Effects of internet on life and history of recreational drug ecstasy is interesting.
.4. Exploration of institute of marriage and its cost benefit ratio is intriguing.


What I didn’t like-

You must be aware of all reality shows, big scandals, books and english music to get hang of everything.

Any paparazzi buff will be aware of all the stuff in those pages.

And book is complex and stretched at many places. Not easy on mind on those times.

Overall a decent nonfiction read which conveys strong voice of Millenial revolting feminism.






Review Mad Dog by Kelly Watt and Author Interview #bookreview #blogtour

Title- Mad Dog

Publisher: Hamilton Stone

Editions Release Date: September 2

My Rating -4/5






It’s the summer of 1964 and the Supremes are the reigning queens of radio. Sheryl-Anne MacRae dreams of running away from her home on an apple orchard in southwestern Ontario to find her missing mother. But the teenager’s plans are put on hold when her uncle and guardian, Fergus, the local pharmacist and an amateur photographer, brings home a handsome young hitchhiker.
When Sheryl-Anne meets the guitar-toting Peter Lucas Angelo, she falls in love. But life in Eden Valley is not as idyllic as it seems. As the summer progresses, Peter is pulled deeper into Fergus’ dangerous underworld – a world of sex, drugs, pornography and apocalyptic visions.

Through the naïve eyes of the ethereal 14-year old Sheryl-Anne, Kelly Watt explores themes of child abuse and sexual deviance, and the secrets, dissociation and denial that allow it to flourish.

A gothic tale told in vivid, often hallucinogenic prose, Mad Dog was a 2001 Globe and Mail notable book and Watt’s first novel. The book has been republished with a U.S. publisher (an updated edition).




Kelly Watt’s award-winning short stories have been anthologized, published internationally and longlisted for the prestigious CBC Radio’s Short Fiction Contest twice (2017/2015). She is the author of two books—the travel companion Camino Meditations (2014), and the gothic novel Mad Dog (2019). Watt lives in the Ontario countryside with her husband, a miniature schnauzer and three diligent chickens.





Author Q&A
Mad Dog

By Kelly Watt

1 . Mad Dog tells the story of a young girl experiencing very traumatic events. What inspired you to write this story?

In my late-twenties and early thirties, I went into therapy after years of struggling with insomnia, depression, and anxiety. I ended up spending six years experiencing terrible flashbacks of abuse I’d suffered as a child while living in various boarding and foster homes. One of the ways I kept sane was to journal. I felt that if I could write one sentence a day then I would be okay. I began journaling, and the writing started spiralling off into stories. Mad Dog started as a story, but it just kept getting longer and longer until I had to admit I was writing a novel.

While in therapy, I had a flashback that really haunted me about a troubled young man. I was trying to figure out why this teenager voluntarily hung around this abusive group of men. He was being sexually abused by one of the men and they were taking pornographic photographs of him.

I posed myself a question: why would a boy be lured by these men? What would be the appeal? What would he be fleeing, what were his vulnerabilities and how would the perpetrator convince him to stay? I wrote the book to answer those questions for myself.

There wasn’t much known about grooming or the tactics of predators or pedophiles in those days, so I just posed the question, “why?” And wrote a book about it. I was trying to come to terms with my own violent childhood, much of which remained opaque and inexplicable to me at first. I was trying to understand what kind of people would behave in such a predatory way and why.

2. Are any of the experiences of the main character pulled from your own life?

Yes, some of the experiences in the book have been pulled from my own life. Others are fictionalized. A book becomes its own creature after a while.

Sheryl-Anne’s whole desire in life is to reunite with her mother, and that was mine too. I lived apart from my mother off and on from age 2-11. I spent my early days feeling abandoned and longing to be united with her. I was also abused and manipulated in some of the ways Sheryl is in the book and had total amnesia about it for many years, as Sheryl does.

3. What other personal experiences did you want to explore in this novel?

I wanted to write about dissociation, denial and amnesia – that process of burying what’s painful. Of being half alive or sleepwalking through life, because of trauma and fear. Due to my own trauma, I felt that I was awakening from a deep drug-induced sleep or hypnosis.

All my life I had felt tormented, and I hadn’t known why. I would say to my therapist over and over that there was something I wasn’t remembering…but I couldn’t finish the sentence. Then the truth of my childhood came to the surface. And it was horrific. It was a huge shock that led me to question everything. Suddenly I was aware of the unfairness in the world, the way certain powerful men got away with abusing their power, how secrets are held and enforced.

My awakening was at a much later age, but I wanted my character, Sheryl-Anne, to have her awakening as a young woman, so that she could know and escape.

4. This novel was originally published in 2001. Why release a revised edition now?

Mad Dog was originally launched on September 13, 2001. My beloved stepfather died on September 4, and of course then there was 9/11. So, what I anticipated as being one of the greatest times of my life, became the worst.

I also felt that it was too soon. People were still uncomfortable with the subject matter at that time. I had people say to me that child pornography was just a rumour and grossly exaggerated. The internet wasn’t flourishing yet, so people were still very naïve about child sexual abuse and human trafficking, etc. I got involved with an independent press in the U.S., Hamilton Stone Editions, and they asked me to publish the book with them. I kept saying no, there were just too many painful memories around it. But as the #MeToo movement began and I realized people were more open to this topic now than 20 years ago, I relented.

5. How does this story resonate in the current #MeToo era?

Society is finally accepting that sexual harassment and assault takes place, and in unprecedented numbers, and the public is finally supporting women who come forward. So, I think now people will finally understand that these same things happen to young girls and children, as in my novel.

6. Mad Dog takes place in 1964. How different was that era for women and children who experienced sexual assault compared to today?

I picked that year because it was the pivotal year before the 50s became the 60s. When we talk of the 1960s, we are usually referring to that groovy time from 1965 onwards. Before that the staid, post-war 1950s were still the status quo. I wanted that conservatism, and the old boys club atmosphere that was rife in small towns at that time, as a backdrop to Sheryl’s discoveries.

When it came to my own research into the justice system, I found out that crimes committed are tried by the law of the time, no matter when you come forward. And in the 1960s there were no trafficking laws in Canada, no child pornography laws, only an obscenity law, and even that required a witness. I was told someone would have had to witness my rape for me to win in court. So you can imagine the likelihood of that. In most cases of rape the only other person present is the perpetrator, so you can surmise how many of those cases were ever solved in favour of the victim.

Basically, women and children were not protected under the law when it came to sexual violence. It didn’t exist in Canada. And still doesn’t in many places around the world.

Fortunately, #MeToo has kicked the door open. Whether the door stays open and women get to pass through it and receive justice and healing is another thing. Public opinion tends to swing like a pendulum and there can be a backlash.

7. What kind of research did you do for this book?

I did quite a bit of research for the book. I didn’t grow up on an apple farm, for instance. I was a city kid who had spent time in a small town in the country, so I had to do a lot of research when it came to rural farming life. I liked the allegorical nature of apples, and so set the book on an apple orchard. I asked some very nice fruit farmers outside a northern town for their help, and I interviewed them and hung out and worked with them for a while during harvest season so that I could get a sense of rural life. I always felt a bit badly that the farmer characters in the book are such bad actors, because the people who let me hang out and learn about apples from them were truly wonderful people.

I also spoke with many other survivors of what we call ritualized abuse and torture, or intergenerational sex rings, and so I had a sense of the dynamics that occur in these sick pedophilic family groups, and their gang-like behaviour.

8. Ultimately, what do you hope readers take away from your novel?

I want to raise awareness about these issues – about the prevalence of child sexual abuse and its long-term effects, and particularly the tactics that predators use to lure their victims. Although the book takes place many years ago, the techniques pedophiles and traffickers use then and now are essentially the same – the flattery, the stringing along, the promises, the offers of gifts, free drugs and alcohol and sex, all that is typical grooming behaviour. As parents we need to be aware of them.

One of the things that the recent case around Jeffrey Epstein has highlighted is how a predator can use other victims to lure new victims. Sadly, predators take advantage of our innocent assumptions, including that a woman wouldn’t help a predator, and yet there are many instances where that is not true. Predators often work in pairs. Even Weinstein had helpers. So did Epstein. That other woman in the car or the woman who invites you to the party, may also be a victim, may be programmed and manipulated, or just plain innocent of what’s about to take place. It’s so tragic.

So, the first step is to share and discuss these issues to get the information out there. I’ve added a reader’s discussion page at the back of my book, and I’ve been offering to do book clubs so that people can get together and discuss these issues, in a safe setting, either in person or by webinar, so that they have a forum to share their experiences.

I’ve also created a resource page with places to get help in the U.S. and Canada, as well as a list of social justice organizations like the one I used to volunteer for so people can access them. There are a lot of amazing resources out there now, but people need to be aware of them. I’ve started a weekly blog on some of these issues for the purposes of sharing info and related news events. You can find all this information on

It’s secrecy that allows these crimes to flourish. If we want to keep our children safe from pedophiles and traffickers, then we need to be open and get the information out there.

9. How where can readers purchase Mad Dog?

The new book is available on, both in paperback and Kindle and Smashwords.

10. Is there anything else you’d like to tell us about your journey?

First, I think that it’s important to be kind when people divulge their experiences of trauma and violence to you. It takes a lot of courage to come forward and it’s important that we allow people to speak their truth.

The second thing is that it takes years to heal, sometimes many, many years. I look like a normal person, but the truth is I have spent almost 30 years in therapy. I consider myself a fully recovered survivor, not a victim.

Lastly, no matter what has happened to you, you can heal. What the people of my generation did was learn and develop new modalities of healing, and they are available now. No matter how dark the present, there is hope for the future. The world is changing.