Movie Time with Austen: Northanger Abbey

So, the previous week, I had not posted a Movie Time with Austen post because I had to post about the readathon and I couldn’t wait till Thursday. Now, we are back to the Movie Time series. In case, anyone has wondered why I haven’t posted one about sense and sensibility yet, it is because when I took the list of movie to book adaptations for sense and sensibility, I realised that there were many movies I haven’t seen yet. So, I had to see them before I posted. And until I do so, you’re stuck with reading about the other books.

This week, we have Northanger Abbey, the Jane Austen book that always seems out of place for me. I mean, other Jane Austen books have a strong heroine. We have Elizabeth (Pride and Prejudice)who is one of the best females protagonists in literature, Elinor (Sense and Sensibility) who is a strong woman who stands for herself, Emma(Emma) who is stubborn but still, you feel the strength of her character, Fanny (Mansfield Park) who may not stand up for herself much but it is because she thinks herself not worthy, but still even she has her own humbly strong ways, Anne (Persuasion) who had made mistakes but she has it in her to learn from them, she finally stand up for herself and then there’s Catherine (Northanger Abbey) who is so naive. So naive, that she doesn’t feel like a Jane Austen character. Every other character had intelligence in their own ways, you could see the intelligence shine through from the character. They all act in a pragmatic way. (Ok, Emma was not that pragmatic, but it was not due to lack of intelligence but perhaps due to her stubbornness in seeing her views wrong.). But Catherine is so innocent, that I don’t know whether to like her for being so innocent in this crazy world or to be frustrated with her for being so stupid at times. She just reads stuff from gothic novels and imagines the world to be just like that. In a way it’s cute, but you also feel irritated at her for it.  Anyway, I guess I should talk about the movie. Yes, movie. Singular because there is only one movie. Noone else thought of adapting this book. I don’t know why noone thought so, because this would a hilarious modern day comedy. Imagine a girl who goes to stay at her friend’s huge house and from reading so many YA novels she imagines stuff like her friend’s father is a vampire or werewolf and then confronting her friend about it. It would be hilarious. But I digress, Let’s get back to the movie.

Northanger Abbey (2007)

 

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This movie is exactly what a Jane Austen lover would like in a movie. It depicts the story exactly and with little edits. The acting is great. Felicity Jones portrays Catherine the best. In the book, I really was not that fond of Catherine. But Felicity’s acting made me like her.JJ Field is Henry right out of the book, patient with Catherine’s imagination, and kind. The rest of the actors are awesome as well. I really enjoyed the movie. There are these scenes which show us Catherine’s imagination when she’s reading or dreaming of crazy stuff. I really found it funny and interesting. It’s definitely worth a watch.

So, that’s all for today’s Movie Time! Hope you enjoyed it.

Other Movie Time posts:

Movie Time with Austen: Pride and Prejudice

Movie Time with Austen: Emma

 


I would also like to say the book Manual for a Murder by Gonçalo JN Dias will be available for free download from 26th to 28th July 2018 in the author’s official blog, in any digital form.

 

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Synopsis: Marina, a 38-year-old accountant in a crumbling relationship, falls in love with a charming colleague who is married with a son. The two begin a torrid relationship. One commits a murder.

Oscar, a homicide detective, is assigned to the case. He is a man dedicated to his work and to his family, and he likes to joke about and mock the typical American police series.

 

Author’s official blog: Here!

Amazon: Here

Goodreads: Here

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Book Review: When Dimple met Rishi

I had heard a lot about this book. With so many people in Booktube talking about how nice this book is, and it being about Indians I was intrigued by the book. However, as I was not a great fan of contemporaries I didn’t immediately pick it up. It was only when I saw the Indian Lit Readathon that I realised that it was time to read the book.

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Let me start by saying that this was a good book. Maybe not great, but it was somewhat okay. There were cuteness, jokes, I kind of liked Dimple……until the second half of the book. No, nothing bad happens in the second half, in fact, it was opposite that was the problem-NOTHING HAPPENS. The plot seemed to have finished in the first half and the second half just seemed like an unnecessary extension. But I digress, let me start the review where I should start it- the characters.

Dimple: I liked Dimple at first, she seemed someone who stood for herself, smart and not caring about material stuff. Being an Indian myself, I have seen a lot of girls struggling to be career oriented in the midst of their parents trying to marry them. In the Indian society, in most cases, a woman is measured first by who her husband and only second by her job. I’m not saying it’s always the case, but I have seen it happen a lot of times. When I saw Dimple stand up for herself, I was glad to see a strong girl. If the author had stopped at that, I would have liked Dimple more. But no, as the story progresses, Dimple goes from a strong-minded girl to a girl who shames other women. I’ll get to that in a minute, but now let’s look at where my problem with Dimple really started. Dimple goes to this coding camp without knowing her parents had arranged for a boy, Rishi, to meet her. Rishi, thinking she knew who he was, comes and talks to her in a way that makes her think he’s a stalker. He clarifies and tells her about how he was sent by her parents. And she just lashes out on him. Okay, I get it, she doesn’t want to get married now, but she doesn’t have to get angry at him for that. She continues to be rude at him after that, despite him being nice to her. That is not woman empowerment or whatever, that is just plain mean.

Okay, now back to the point of her shaming other girls. We meet only two other girls her age, her friend at the camp, Celia, and a girl from another group, Isabelle. Celia is shown as someone with poor judgement. Dimple immediately judges Isabelle because she’s with rich kids. She even goes on to think that Isabelle is someone who would “eat carbs for attention”. Seriously? That is a mean thing to think about someone no matter how bad they have treated you. And Isabelle seriously wasn’t mean to Dimple. I have a feeling both Celia and Isabelle are meant to exist just to make Dimple seem better. Because Dimple is so much better than them. You read that every five seconds. She is so different than any other girl on the planet. “She was in Computer at school, while other girls were into arts and literature”, she doesn’t wear makeup (she says that every five pages). I think this book would have done better if it wasn’t trying this hard to make her a shiny unicorn. Also, Girl power is not by shaming other girls to make one character seem better.

Rishi: He was a likeable character and actually one of the only redeeming points of this book. He is a kind caring person and a bit more thoughtful than Dimple.

Plot:

There was a plot at the beginning of the story. But somewhere in the middle, it just wasn’t there. At first, it started out being about how she would win the coding contest at the end of the camp. But they show little of the coding that you just start to not care about it much. If this book was to focus on their coding I think it should have had less of Dimple and Rishi going around the city and more of them actually sitting down and coding. I’m no expert at coding, but doesn’t it take time and effort to code your own app? Especially if it has a lot of graphics? Anyway, the plot was not so great.

Redeeming points:

Like I said this book was good in some ways. The first half was nice, had some plots. The book was hilarious too. I did laugh at all the jokes in the book. Rishi was a good character. Also, I liked it, that the story seemed to have a sort of ‘destiny brings people together’ factor. The fact that it was about Indian people was something that appealed to me a lot. You don’t see many Indian books these days.

Overall:

I would say depending upon your preferences, you may either love it or hate it. To me, it was a mixed feeling book. Which I enjoyed some things, I hated some other. Overall, I would say, this book was okay.

Rating: 3/5

 

 

Indian Lit Readathon and the importance of reading literature from your country.

Now, If you don’t know what a readathon is, it’s when a group of people sit and read at the same time (at the same or different places). Sounds like a dream come true, right? There are a lot of readathons happening throughout the year with various challenges you can finish, and lot’s of new stuff to discover. If you google “Readathon calender” you can get calender’s people have made that lists a lot of readathons. (I would have posted the link, but you know how lazy I am.) The Indian Lit Readathon is when you read only Indian books or Indian author’s books.

I had a great time at Indian Lit Readathon, which is a readathon organised by Shruti at This is Lit, Aditi at Dreamy Reads, Charvi at Not Just Fiction, and Nandini at Unputdownable Books. It was on July 7 and 8, 2018. I found out about them from another readathon calendar and was so glad to see an Indian Literature Readathon happening. I mean I’ve seen readathons but none were Indian. As I read Shruti’s blog post about the readathon I realised that I hadn’t read an Indian book in a long time. It was not that I didn’t like Indian books. On the contrary, I loved them. I loved reading Ruskin Bond’s stories, Vikram Seth’s poetry and R.K Narayan’s stories. But I just hadn’t read anything aside from those. Most books I saw hyped in Booktube or other blogs are usually English books by English authors, mostly set in the US or UK and mostly meant to cater to those audiences. Not having been outside India, I couldn’t relate to a lot of those stories. That was one reason I wasn’t much fond of contemporary novels because they had stuff I didn’t understand. Like why American schools had groups like nerds and cheerleaders, why nerds were seen as bad. I mean in my school if you had great marks and knew a lot of stuff you were practically worshipped. The kid with the best grade was in most cases, the popular kid. So, that never made sense to me. If the story was about working people it was even harder to understand. Now, you might ask, why didn’t I just go and read some Indian books? The answer is, I was just immersed in fantasy and sci-fi that I just never bothered to check up on Indian reads. That was why, when I saw this readathon, I immediately signed up.

This was my first readathon and I had no idea how it was going to go. So, I went on twitter and followed their twitter page as well. It was so much fun. There were sprints, interactions and a lot of motivation. The readthon had challenges and you had to finish 3 to complete the readathon. So, I had picked up two books which amounted to three challenges. It was my first readathon, so I decided to keep it simple. The two books were:

When Dimple Met Rishi by Sandhya Menon:

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This amounted to the challenges:

Read a book with an Indian name in the title.

Read a book perfect for a rainy day.

This is a well-hyped book and I have to say after it, the hype was not that necessary. I really didn’t like the book that much. Imean it was okay, could have used a bit more plot. The story is about an Indian girl named Dimple goes on a coding camp, only to later realise that the only reason she was sent there was that she could meet an Indian guy her parents had arranged for her, called Rishi. It’s about how she deals with that while trying to win the camp award.

 

An Era of Darkness by Shashi Tharoor

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This was for the challenges:

Read a book by an author from your own state.

Read a book set during or about India’s freedom struggle (1757-1947)

I couldn’t finish this book as it was non-fiction and I take a lot of time reading non-fiction. But I really enjoyed the book. This is a non-fiction about how the British with their 200-year rule, debilitated India’s economy. It was about the different ways they destroyed India’s political, social systems.

Because I was pressed for time and I needed one more challenges completed (because I had not finished the second book), I read another short story instead.

Sultana’s Dream by Begum Rokeya

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Read a book set during or about India’s freedom struggle (1757-1947).

This is a story about a girl named Sultana dreaming. She dreams about a land where only ladies are present. They rule the place, the men are kept inside zananas, the women invent solar-powered machines and harvest rainwater and basically rule the place. It was meant as a feminist attempt to try and picture how a women-only society would be utopia. (Something I don’t agree to because I think both men and women should enjoy equal rights for a society to be a utopia. One section dominating another is never going to turn out well.) I did enjoy the imaginative world.

So, I completed one and a half book and one short story.  I read almost 420 pages. It was fun to just sit down and read the whole day. What I loved about his readathon was that I discovered a lot of new Indian books. I think I would have to update my list of Top Five Books from India. I really hope to read more such books. Or Maybe start a new book club with only Indian books, I don’t know…maybe. Thank you, Indian Lit Readathon for introducing me to so many new reads!

You can read more about the Indian Lit Readathon here.

 

 

Movie Time with Austen: Emma

So, last week I talked about the movie adaptations of Pride and Prejudice. This week I’m going to talk about Emma. Now, Emma is Jane Austen’s favourite heroine. I don’t hate her, but she’s not my favourite because she meddles too much in other people’s affairs. While I think she is adorable in her thinking, she lacks the practical thinking that I find endearing in Elizabeth Bennet. I can’t blame her for her lack of understanding of people’s motives, but I wish she sometimes was able to know she was completely wrong. Anyway, these are the movie adaptations of Emma:

1. Emma (1996) with Kate Beckinsale

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This is a great Emma adaptation. It’s a classical one with the story going on according to the book. The acting was great, but somehow I think Kate Beckinsale didn’t capture Emma very well. She made Emma look a bit too intelligent than what I perceived from the books. I’m not saying Emma was not intelligent in the books, but she lacked the ability to understand that stuff like why Mr. Elliot was paying her visits and such. In other words, she seemed clueless, but she didn’t seem so clueless in this version.

2. Emma (1996) with Gwyneth Paltrow

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I think this is my favourite version. I mean this one is hilarious and yet it portrays the story well. I adored how Emma and Mr Knightly was shown. The other movies show the interaction between Emma and Mr Knightly a bit serious with Mr Knightly acting like a big brother but in this movie instead of acting so serious and trying to stop Emma from doing blunders all the time Mr Knightly teases her and frankly I think that is how he is in the book. This movie is the one in which I was kind of able to forgive Emma’s faults because her cluelessness is adorable. I would really recommend watching this movie.

3. Emma (2009)

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I like this one. This is a four-part TV series by BBC. It’s exactly like the book, with few changes. I liked the way the characters were portrayed and Emma was so dramatic in this one. She’s so stubborn, refusing to listen to others, which is like in the books. Mr Knightly was great in terms of acting but I wish he was not so serious all the time.

4. Clueless 1995

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Now, this was a modern adaptation of Emma. I think almost everyone has seen it. I just recently happen to see it. The first time I saw it I was completely clueless it was based on Emma (see what I did there?). So, I actually thought it was funny, but not that interesting movie and didn’t finish it. But then I learnt that it was based on Emma and I saw it again. I have to say, the this time I thought it was good. I love how they made it and how the story came into modern times. I liked how clueless they showed Emma. I would surely recommend this one. (But I guess everyone’s seen it so it’s not much of a use recommending.)

I think movie adaptations of Emma is rather easy to write about because there are few varieties. The three movies are practically the same in terms of story, and Clueless is the only one with a difference. You will love the movies.

An open letter to YA Authors

Dear YA authors,

I know how hard you have worked on your books. You’ve spent days editing those books days that felt a lot longer than 24 hours. Editing is the toughest things to do (Trust me, I don’t really edit a lot of my blog posts cause I’m lazy.) and I admire your bravery and patience in editing a book.  I mean I tried writing a book once and although it was fun at first, once I had a finished story, I realised I had to actually edit it and after days of staring at the screen at the stupidity I had written, I gave up. I could hardly read my first draft because of how weird it was. And you guys went through all of that and edited it god knows how many times and got accepted by a publisher and did finally had it published. It was tough and I know your book is your baby and you want it to be liked just like how we all want our creations to be liked. So, please bear with me while I tell you how you could make your book even more awesome (at least in my point of view).

I know a love triangle seems like a great idea. I mean there’s a very good conflict with it, and sometimes it helps to keep the reader unsure of how the relationship will turn out to be or who will the characters end up with. It is a great idea in many cases. But if you make it look like the person in the triangle (mostly girls), is cheating because she’s unsure of her feelings I things start getting out of hand. I’ve seen YA books where the girl is unsure, but she seems to be leaning towards guy 1 but whenever guy 1 is not around she runs to guy 2. I don’t think that’s what we mean when we say “the character is unsure of her feelings.” Because when a character flits between the triangle like that it becomes cheating. And that’s not a very good trait for your protagonist.

When writing stories, especially involving teens and stuff like magic, it would seem like there is bound to be a conflict between people around them. I think the people in the receiving end of this are parents. For example, if the teenage girl has magical powers and she has to train secret, she will have to go to said training spot without her parents knows. Or maybe the boy with superpowers has to keep his identity a secret from his parents but he can’t tell them where he’s been. So I’ve seen a lot of you just take the easy way out and make it seem like the parents are irresponsible and NEVER care what the child is doing. The child can go missing for days but still, when he/she comes back no one even knows she gone. I think instead of taking the easy way out you can use this to create even more conflict in the story. A good example of using it to create conflict is The Dark Days Club book. In the story set in 18th century England, the main character is a girl with powers and every time she uses it or escapes her house to use it, she gets into trouble and the fact that her uncle is watching her every move makes the story even more interesting.

We all love strong female characters. It’s something I love in books. But please stop confusing the word strong with physical strength. I know a female who beats people up is really fun to write and to read. But when EVERY female protagonist is strong only because of her physical strength it gets tiring. A woman doesn’t have to have the physical strength to be labelled strong. Her mental strength, her kindness, all in itself is bravery. There are women who have not fought a single battle in their lives but are strong because they have endured much more mentally, because despite having contrary situations everywhere they have still succeeded in life because of their willpower. Write about the physically strong female, but don’t make them your only strong female character.

I know we all hear about how one shouldn’t write Mary Sues. I think some of you have tried a bit too hard to not write a Mary Sue that she turned into the biggest Mary Sue ever. The character is described to be average…too average. She is an average person who no one thinks is beautiful…..until the male protagonist sees her and she’s suddenly the most beautiful thing ever. Her unruly hair? To the male protagonist, it’s like his favourite noodles. Her cackling laughter like a witch? To him, it’s the sound of cherubs singing. Please stop this overly Non-Mary Sue character.

I hope you liked my views. I had a bit more to write but I know this itself is a long letter and you’re probably bored and tired from reading it. But I hope you give these tips a chance.

Love,

A Reader.

Movie Time with Austen: Pride and Prejudice Movie Adaptations

So, I decided to start a weekly post about the different movie adaptations of Jane Austen books. Actually, I had thought of doing a single post with all the adaptations, but it turns out,  there are way too many adaptations for all them to fit in one post, and hence the weekly posts.

Jane Austen needs no introduction to the literary world. She has been the favourite of many for years. It is perhaps this fame that has induced film producers to make adaptations upon adaptations. From Time Travel to Zombies, Jane Austen stories have seen them all. The most favourite of her books is Pride and Prejudice and hence this one has the most adaptations. I’m not sure if I have all of the adaptations here but I have tried to include the ones that I have seen.

1.The BBC (1995)

 

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This one is probably the most liked of all, especially among those who love the book more. This is a six-episode dramatisation of Pride and Prejudice. I think I liked this one the best too. It is the adaptation that is closest to the book. I think with six hours it was easy for them to include most of the book in it. Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle’s acting are really phenomenal. Jennifer Ehle I think shows Elizabeth the best among the different adaptations. She could show Elizabeth’s wit and intelligence in her expressions. Most of the actors in the drama have done a great job. It is no wonder that this is a favourite among many.

2. Pride and Prejudice (2005)

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This is the movie I like second best among the adaptations as it stays true to the book. But still, it is second because it still has a lot of weird stuff like Darcy walking through the mist when it’s almost daylight and Elizabeth walking through the mist too and somehow they both carry on a conversation as though walking through the mist alone in the morning was completely ok in the eighteenth century. Didn’t they have really strict social rules and stuff in those days? How come neither of them even asked the other “Hey what are you out doing so early?”. I don’t know, maybe I’m nitpicking but it always seemed a bit weird to me. I really liked Matthew Macfadyen’s acting. He really knows how to portray Darcy. And Dame Judi Dench is my favourite  Lady Catherine. She’s awesome with being so scary and powerful. Also, I think Mr.Bennet was better characterised in this one. As for the cinematography, I think this one was the best too.

3. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

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Ok, if you haven’t seen this one, you are missing out on a lot. This is by far my most favourite modern-day adaptations of Pride and Prejudice. It’s in a vlog format by Elizabeth and it’s wonderful. At first, when I saw the format I was confused as to how they would show different things in the book, like things that Elizabeth does not see, but they have been clever in their presentation. I think what I adored about this was the way they showed story unfold. I loved each of the characters and they portrayed them well. It’s short, beautiful, funny and it’s for free on youtube. Honestly, you have to check this one out.

4. Bride and Prejudice

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Ok, this is a Bollywood style adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. Like most Bollywood movies you can expect a lot of dancing and singing. Some people might find it fun, but I was cringing through the movie.  Don’t get me wrong, this movie is not bad. It’s just a bad Pride and Prejudice adaptation. I mean I first saw this movie not knowing it was an adaptation and I thought it was decent. But once I learned it was an adaptation, I was so confused. It just didn’t seem like an adaptation until I was told so. (Ok, maybe the names should have given it away, but I really wasn’t paying attention to it the first time I saw it.) Being an Indian, I know that a lot of stuff in the movie is true like a lot of parents want their kids to get married well, and parties can be a bit too elaborate. Of course, we don’t break into a song in the middle of the marketplace, but when we go festive we do go over the top sometimes. The movie for some reason made Elizabeth seem like an arrogant person. Overall, I didn’t like this very much, but some may find it fun.

5. Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-Day Comedy (2003)

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I hadn’t known this one was there until recently. It seemed like an okay movie. The acting was not very top class. But I liked the twists they made to the story. The characters were portrayed not so well and the camera angles were awful.  The editing could use a bit more editing. But it was a bit funny. Overall, I would say this story had potential but could be filmed in a better way.

6. Lost in Austen (2008)

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If you haven’t see this movie, you are doing yourself a favour. This is one boring movie. The basic premise is a modern day girl, Amanda Price, a Jane Austen fan, one day find Elizabeth Bennet in her Bathroom and finds herself inside Elizabeth’s world and Elizabeth in hers. In this movie, her family thinks she’s Elizabeth’s friend and lets her stay. The story is about what happens then.  How she meets Darcy and so on. The acting was bad, and I just couldn’t find the characters in the story. Noone was like the characters in the book. It was really one boring movie.

7. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

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If you are looking for an adaptation with a twist, this one is for you. I truly loved the way this was made. I know it’s a bad thing, but I haven’t read the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, because I’m not a Zombies fan and I just didn’t like the idea of it and Pride and Prejudice together a good idea. But having seen the movie, I think it’s nice. I still don’t think it’s the best premise, but that’s cause of my personal bias. So, I have to admit the story was cleverly plotted and the acting was great. I liked the idea of Elizabeth and her sisters being exceptional fighters. (It made me hate Lydia a bit less.) Also, the supporting characters were great in this one too. Overall, I think this movie was great.

8. Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)

 

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Ok, to be fair, I haven’t watched this movie. I saw the trailer and realised this just wasn’t my kind of movie. It was better to not watch it. But having seen the trailer I wonder how close an adaptation to Pride and Prejudice it can be. It seemed a bit too much of a stretch to me.  Seeing its popularity I think a lot of people would like it.

Overall, the BBC one is my overall favourite in terms of original adaptation. The Lizzie Bennet Diaries are my favourite modern-day adaptation.

If you have made it through this post, I really applaud you for your patience. Thank you so much for reading. I hope you enjoyed it. What is your favourite adaptation? Comment below and let me know.

Have a great day!

 

Book Review: Brain Food by Richard Cornish

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When I first got this book I actually thought it was related to food for the brain. The foods that help the brain think better and such. But as it turns out, this book is about food questions. Even though initially I felt confused, I loved the book too much to care about the title. As the author writes in the beginning, the book is a collection of questions, the author had answered as a part of a food column. Other than being informative, it is the author’s writing style that hooks you to the book. Usually, food columns just answer your queries in a robotic manner, but not this food column. This author has a hilarious way of answering questions that leave you laughing and other around you wondering why you are laughing reading a food column.

The book is extremely informative as well. I learned about a lot of new dishes and many more kitchen hacks. I had not known much about why we add certain ingredients to baking, but this book answers that as well. I think this book has truly won at being an interesting book about food questions. I would certainly recommend this book!

Rating:4/5 stars

Disclaimer: I got this book in exchange for an honest review.