Category: Book Notes

  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio

    Rating : 9/10

    Genre : Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult


    What It’s About

    Wonder is the story of August Pullman (aka Auggie), a 10-year-old boy born with a rare craniofacial disorder and his experience of attending a school for the first time. The book is based on the themes of kindness, identity, bullying, acceptance and friendship. Auggie’s journey is an emotional rollercoaster, from being bullied and called a “freak” to finding friends that truly accept and treat him like any other ordinary kid. It’ll make you smile, laugh and even shed tears at times.

    Palacio has written this book in eight parts which include the story being told from the viewpoints of various people who are a part of Auggie’s life including his friends, his elder sister, her boyfriend and more. The book also contains numerous life lessons and quotes in the form of “Mr. Browne’s Precepts” which I quite liked.


    Key Thoughts

    The book was truly heart-warming and inspirational to read. Since there’s a vast range of characters, you’ll definitely relate to a few of them. The book felt short because of how fast-paced it was.

    Some of the viewpoints given in the book were too short and seemed unnecessary. Just when you get invested in an individual’s perspective, it switches and then you have to spend some time adjusting to someone else’s point of view.

    Despite this, I think that they were incredibly written. Reading the same story from different viewpoints shows us how there are two sides to every story. Even the antagonists appear less evil after you hear their explanations.

    It’s Auggie’s character development that makes this book so special. I love how he says in the opening sentence of the book, “I know I’m not an ordinary ten-year-old kid” nonetheless by the time the book ends, he says, “To me, though, I’m just me. An ordinary kid.”

    The book reminds us of the importance of being kind to each other and loving people unconditionally. Overall, it was a great read, This is one of those books I recommend to people of all ages even though it is promoted towards young adults.


    Summary Notes

    “I wish everyday could be Halloween. We could all wear masks all the time. Then we could walk around and get to know each other before we got to see what we looked like under the masks.”

    “Don’t give them that power over you. Don’t give them the satisfaction.”

    “For a second, I imagined how cool it would be to be Via and Justin right then, having all these people standing up and cheering for them. I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives.”

    “It’s so weird how that can be, how you could have a night that’s the worst in your life, but to everybody else it’s just an ordinary night.” “Or maybe it was even a good day. Maybe somebody won the lottery today.”

    “Kinder than is necessary. Because it’s not enough to be kind. One should be kinder than needed.”

    “Courage. Kindness. Friendship. Character. These are the qualities that define us as human beings, and propel us, on occasion, to greatness.”

    “.. the best way to measure how much you’ve grown isn’t by inches or the number of laps you can now run around the track, or even your grade point average– though those things are important, to be sure. It’s what you’ve done with your time, how you’ve chosen to spend your days, and whom you’ve touched this year. That, to me, is the greatest measure of success.”

    “It’s not enough to be friendly. You have to be a friend.”

  • Morning Rituals by Katie Stone

    Rating : 6/10

    Genre : Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Life Advice


    The Book in 3 Sentences

    1. A habit is a symbolic statement that you adopt to have big impacts.
    2. Focus, energy, strength and clarity are the stepping stones to success.
    3. Do something daily with full focus simply because you love doing it.

    Main Takeaways

    The author mentioned “Tea Meditation”. This is a practice of making tea every morning while being completely mindful and putting your attention on every step of the process. Afterwards, you need to enjoy every sip of the tea without letting any worries distract your peacefulness.

    Take some time every morning to read non-fiction books to either further your expertise or broaden your skills and knowledge by reading them.

    Visualise success in a non-financial manner. So instead of saying, “I want make x number of money per year”, think about how your life would look like if you were successful and happy.

    Give the same attention to good things in your life as you give to your problems and stress. Dedicate a fixed amount of time to note down the things you’re grateful for; or a list of things that made you smile.

    Differentiate between the workspace and a relaxing place. Otherwise, you send your subconscious mixed signals. Keep it clean and keep all the things you need for work close-by.

    Instead of writing a list of activities you want to adopt in your morning routine, write reaffirming text to read out loud. Something like “I get up every morning at 7:00 am and take a shower. After that, I sit down and meditate for ten minutes before making my coffee. Then, I…”


    Comments

    This book is a great handbook for people looking to the make most out of their mornings. The writing style is quite casual and straightforward which makes it easier for the readers to comprehend the information. The book is filled with practical morning habits.

    It was a short read but at times I felt that the author could have elaborated the rituals more. Overall, I would recommend this book to someone who wants to build their morning routine and is looking for the ‘ingredients’ to customize it according to their needs and goals.


    Top 3 Quotes

    “There is no use to blindly copy what someone else is doing – no matter how many millions or billions they make. Every person is unique, and so should be their morning routine be.”

    “Tidiness is a very beneficial factor for your mental well-being. A made bed adds to that tidiness with just 10 seconds of work.

    “Find a place where everything you need is there, and nothing else. Where distractions are locked away, even if only symbolically. Where your subconscious is fully on your side.”

  • The Room on the Roof by Ruskin Bond

    Rating : 9/10

    Genre : Fiction, Young Adult


    What It’s About

    The Room on the Roof is a classic fiction about a seventeen-year-old orphaned Anglo-Indian boy, Rusty who manages to escape his strict English guardian. He aspires to live a life of happiness and relaxation. The boy who used to be called a ‘snob’ slowly found himself developing a strong bond with his friends. He became accustomed to the Indian lifestyle and was no longer confined.

    Just when Rusty was living his best life, the story took a gloomy turn. His companions start to flit which was then accompanied by a tragedy with Rusty’s first love interest. The book describes life from a teen’s perspective, his experiences with friendship, love and responsibility and his transformation into a mature adult.


    How I discovered It

    This novel was Ruskin Bond’s first literary venture, Written when he was seventeen himself. It was also the first book by him I’ve ever read. I discovered it quite randomly a few years back after being recommended it by my friends. It made me fall in love with the author’s writing style. After reading this book, I immediately bought more books by him, read them and became fond of them as well.


    Key Thoughts

    Written in a short and simple manner, the book is about self-discovery. It depicts friendship and love with a realistic approach. With an adventurous start, the ending was quite unpredicted and leaves the reader heartbroken. It shows that life is uncertain and we should learn to move on. It displays the freedom and responsibilities of a teenager’s life. The book teaches that the best relationships in life are formed when we are least expecting them; which is the reason we should open ourselves to new people without being hesitant.


    Summary Notes

    “They who sleep last, wake first. Hunger and pain lengthen the night, and so the beggars and dogs are the last to see the stars; hunger and pain hasten the awakening, and the beggars and dogs are the first to see the sun.”

    “We don’t know why we live. It is no use trying to know. But we have to live, Rusty, because we really want to. And as long as we want to, we have got to find something to live for, and even die for it.”

    “One day you’ll be great, Rusty. A writer or an actor or a prime minister or something. Maybe a poet! Why not a poet, Rusty?”

    “He could not run away. He could not escape the life he had made, the ocean into which he had floundered the night he left his guardian’s house. He had to return to the room; his room; he had to go back.”

  • The Daily Blog of Harley The Dog

    Rating : 7/10

    Genre : Children’s Animals Comics & Graphic Novels


    What It’s About

    The Daily Blog of Harley The Dog is a collection of blog posts written by Jodie Sarginson (aka Human Jodie) on behalf of her pet dog. Harley is an adopted pitbull who found her fur-ever home in Jodie and her fiance, Doug’s house. The book is short, cheerful and good-humoured. If you’re a pet owner or an animal lover, this book is for you.


    How I discovered It

    I discovered this book quite casually. I was looking at my Kindle Store for something related to blogging when this book popped up. Of course, who wouldn’t find the concept of a dog’s journal fascinating? At least I did and I added the book to my ‘to be read’ list.


    Key Thoughts

    It was definitely a fun read. The author describes Harley’s thoughts in an exciting and humorous manner. From little funny puns to messing up the dates, the books turned out to be light-hearted and lifts the reader’s mood. Every blog entry has some adorable photographs of Harley to go along which melts your heart and makes you think life from the dog’s eyes.

    It displays the human-animal bond in a beautiful way and it was a great pleasure to read their experiences. I feel that this is one of those books you can read after a stressful day at work to unwind and de-stress.


    Summary Notes

    “I think it will be like a big bowl of endless dog food and I will always have a full belly. I really don’t think it gets any better than that!”

    “She would not stop talking, so I decided to listen to her babble. I don’t really understand a lot of human talk, but whatever she said must have been funny, because she laughed at herself.”

    “These were the good ol’ days. NO leash, some trust, and I could run as fast as I wanted to! What do you like to do outside?”

    “If I find a way to open the door, I will take myself to the dog park to meet up with my friends. My humans have been busy. I know my pup pals probably miss me, and I sure do miss them”