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🎼 Music to my ears (especially at this time of the year)

Rachel Joyce has a style of writing that fans adore. With a simplicity in her storytelling, she's able to touch hearts better than any AI tool can. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, let me bring you up to speed. The latest artificial intelligence news cited that AI is that it is learning how to make you cry at the movies. Read more.) But back to Rachel Joyce's storytelling. 

Rachel Joyce is already a bestselling author, well known for books like The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry and Perfect. Her latest entry "The Music Shop", Joyce attempts to bring music into our hearts, as she takes us on a delightful interlude that will enrich our minds about our favourite musical masters, from Bach's Double Violin Concerto to Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata. Did you know, for example, that even though it's common knowledge that while Haydn and Mozart were the maestros who really cracked the sonata, it was Beethoven who reinvented it? Just as he reinve…

Bring on the painters and poets 🎶

A few weeks ago, Leonardo da Vinci's "Salvator Mundi" painting sold for a record $450 million dollars. The sale of this Da Vinci painting was the talk of the art world, but the sticker price was definitely a conversation topic for weeks after. So, what was so incredibly special about this single panel (damaged) painting that earned it the title of the highest price paid at an auction? 

The answer could be any number of reasons. Perhaps one was that the buyer, Saudi Arabian prince Bader bin Abdullah, was an ardent Leonardo da Vinci fan effectively swept away by the marketing campaign by Droga5 that referred to the painting as "the male 'Mona Lisa'", thus cashing in on the emotional connection of one of the most iconic art pieces in the world. 

As you have garnered by now, I'm obsessed with art. A self-professed art-a-holic, I have never miss an opportunity to head to an art gallery in a city. My travels have taken me as far as the The Art Institute of …

On the first day of Christmas

Inspired by the famous traditional Christmas carol, The Twelve Days Of Christmas, Joshua Seigal's book Morris Wants More...For Christmas, is imaginative and entertaining. Kids will love the buildup of excitement as they anticipate what little Morris will get for each of the twelve days of Christmas. 

Meet Prince Moris, rich kid, who has everything he could possibly imagine. It's no wonder that on the first day of Christmas he expects a gift that is huge. His parents always get him whatever he wants, and the spoilt kid is going to make sure that they get the best present ever.

From day one, to day day 12, Moris is unappreciative of the gifts he gets, each time demanding a bigger and bigger gift. His parents oblige, since they don't like to see their little "sweet" prince disappointed. 

But there is sweet justice in the end. And to all kids everywhere, it's a reminder to be grateful for what you have.

An unusual Christmas story. But an important lesson for…

Life is a beautiful mystery (or two)

One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvellous structure of reality.
Two mystery books to recommend over the holidays...

The Man In The Crooked Hat by Harry Dolan

The Washington Post refers to Dolan as a writer who has a "talent for ingenious, serpentine plots". 

It's been two years since private eye Jack Pellum's wife Olivia was murdered. Jack is an ex-cox and his eye is on the murderer, who he believes is someone he saw a few days ago in the neighbourhood...the man with a fedora hat. There are some leads. Danny Cavanaugh recently hanged himself (after his wife was killed) left a suicide note: There's a killer, and he wears a crooked hat. 

Is there a connection between the murders? Serial killers usually have a common thread of behaviour. There usually is a motive. These crimes seem to be unrelated, but there are murders that go back at least 20 years. How can Jack Pellum get to the bottom of this mystery and …

From Winning the Pulitzer to The Fresh Complaint

What is it about complaining that feels so good? 

This is one of the themes that Jeffrey Eugenides tackles in his book of short stories, Fresh Complaint. It is the first collection of short fiction from the Pulitzer Prize-winning author. 

A retrospective collection of 10 stories, Jeffrey Eugenides is able to use his astute talent for observation and pull us into the world of the characters. I enjoyed the first one called "Complainers". It's about two women who are friends. Della is 88, and resides in an assisted-living facility. She is suffering from dementia. Her friend Cathy brings her one of her favourite books wrapped in exquisite style, but she notices that her friend doesn't really notice the book once she opens it. 

The story goes back and forth, recounting their lives and their support of each other through the years as they manoeuvre through divorce, meddling husbands, and the inevitability of getting old. 

I enjoy short stories, and this one will be on my books…

The Illustrated Mahabharata - The Definitive Guide to India's Greatest Epic (DK Books)

To label The Mahabharata as "India's Greatest Epic" is, in the opinion of your humble scribe, the personification of understatement. Once one distills the elements of this magnum opus into its essential elements -- something that can unarguably take years if not a lifetime -- there is still much to learn and mull over. Having said this, the masterful DK (Dorling Kindersley) rendition, expertly penned and contributed by none other than Devdutt Pattnaik and Bibek Debroy is an evident labour of love and devotion thanks to the DK India team that put it together. It is a brilliant effort and acknowledged as such by in this article: How a 15-member team produced a lush visual version of the ‘Mahabharata’.

My first experience with the book came in an abridged format made for kids. I was 10 years of age and the illustrated book was gifted to me during a visit to India. Subsequent generations of Indian children have read similar versions in comic book format under the Am…

The Secret Sauce Of Subban Success

Truth be told, I'm not a sports fanatic. I watch sports on occasion, if there's a world cup or Olympics. But even I know P.K. Subban. The moment I watched him in an interview, I was in awe of a superstar who carried himself with such humility. I was struck by his eloquence, and admired this incredibly successful well-rounded player, who at such a young age seemingly had achieved such greatness. 

The interview also featured the entire Subban family. And I was further in awe of the success that this family collectively had achieved. Did you know his other two brothers have also been drafted to the NHL? Inspiring. How could one family raise such incredible children? At the time I wondered about this, but the thought just lingered in my mind until I came across a new book by Karl Subban and Scott Colby, published by Random House Canada.

How We Did It: The Subban Plan For Success In Hockey, School & Life. 
~ By Karl Subban and Scott Colby

Karl Subban is the dad of P.K. Subban. Toge…