Saturday, 18 April 2015

'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)' by Mindy Kaling: A Book Review

In Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, Mindy invites readers on a tour of her life and her unscientific observations on romance, friendship, and Hollywood, with several conveniently placed stopping points for you to run errands and make phone calls. Mindy Kaling really is just a Girl Next Door—not so much literally anywhere in the continental United States, but definitely if you live in India or Sri Lanka.

Let me first be frank and admit that I didn't know who Mindy Kaling was or what she did before finding this book on Goodreads. I hadn't even heard of The Office before deciding to pick this one up. 

Actually, a few weeks ago, I had come across an article on some website where the writer spoke about reading a comedy book every day for a week and the wonderful impact it had on her happiness and emotional stability. And since it's my New Year's resolution to be happy every day, I decided to do what she did. 

And that, dear readers, is how I met Mindy Kaling. (And Amy Poehler. And Tiny Fey, although I already knew and loved her thanks to Mean Girls.)


Right from the first page of this book, Mindy tells you that this is not a self-help book, because she of all people has no right to give others advice. This book, she says, will not help you lose weight or succeed or revolutionise the way you feel about your boring job. 
But on the other hand, it will teach you a few things about love, friendship, and laughter - and aren't those the best lessons from life?

I didn't know what to expect from this book other than a couple of laughs. Well, I definitely got more than that. Reading things from an Indian-American's perspective is always refreshing, not to mention amusing when it's Mindy who's the author. She narrates like a friend, funny and relatable, and that's probably why I found myself reading her book during break-times instead of continuing with my Harry Potter re-readathon. 


Here are some snippets from the book that I really liked:

“There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.”  
(I have recently started getting up at the crack of dawn - if six a.m. counts as 'dawn' - even on weekends, but I'm sure most of my readers can relate to this one.)

“This book will take you two days to read. Did you even see the cover? It’s mostly pink. If you’re reading this book every night for months, something is not right.”  
(Mindy will not accept 'I have no time to read' as an excuse to not read her book.)

“Teenage girls, please don’t worry about being super popular in high school, or being the best actress in high school, or the best athlete. Not only do people not care about any of that the second you graduate, but when you get older, if you reference your successes in high school too much, it actually makes you look kind of pitiful, like some babbling old Tennessee Williams character with nothing else going on in her current life. What I’ve noticed is that almost no one who was a big star in high school is also big star later in life. For us overlooked kids, it’s so wonderfully fair.” 
(I really do hope this is true. Most celebrities claim they were unpopular in school, don't they?)


“Maybe the point is that any marriage is work, but you may as well pick work that you like.”
 (Her book isn't just funny - it's also deep and thoughtful.)

Another reason why I enjoyed this book is that I've slowly started reading more and more non-fiction books. Does that tend to happen when one grows up? I sure hope so. As much as I love fiction, because it lets you into an entirely different world with all new characters, non-fiction is what keeps me grounded and helps me connect real life with what I'm reading. 

I am very thankful that I read that article on the internet, because that's what made me read this highly entertaining book that actually does help you succeed in life, contrary to what Mindy claims. You can read the first half of this book and know what not to do, and the second half to know what you should do if you want to be where Mindy is today - rightfully very well-known in her field. 

I'm going to go with 4 stars out of 5 for 'Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns)'.
Witty, entertaining and comforting, Mindy Kaling's take on life is sure to put you - and your mood - on the right track. I'd definitely recommend this to everyone who's currently reading this post. 


Word on the street is that Mindy is currently working on her second book, and I'm definitely looking forward to it. Meanwhile, I will watch all the episodes of The Office and become a fangirl.

If you're a Mindy Kaling fan, or if you've already read this book, tell me what you thought of it. Did you find her frankness off-putting or endearing? 
Also, if you know any similar books that aren't 'Yes Please' or 'Bossypants', both of which are next on my TBR list, please tell me so I can get more books. I like books. 

See you later, Geeks!

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Some More Favourite Trailers!


Hello, dear Geeks.
As you may already know, I'm a big fan of trailers, and last year, I even made a post discussing my top five favourite trailers. Since then, I've discovered a few more movies and their trailers, so here we are today. Read on to find out which three trailers made the cut (in no particular order)!

1) Little Manhattan

Little Manhattan is one of my favourite movies, but considering the fact that it's a decade old, I had never been able to watch the trailer until recently. And then I fell in love with the movie all over again, and I also discovered two songs that are now on my 'favourites' playlist: 'Miracles' by Matt White and 'Someone Saved My Life' by Elton John.
Check out the trailer below. Is there anything more adorable than baby Josh Hutcherson? I think not.

Favourite dialogues: 
Gabe: "Hey there, pretty lady. How's it goin', girl? Hey, Rosemary Telesco."

Gabe: "It only lasted two weeks. But when you're eleven years old, two weeks can be a lifetime."

Favourite scene:
1:45 onwards.


2) The Divergent Series: Insurgent

Although this trailer makes the movie look like the cinematised version of a different book altogether, you have to admit that Insurgent's trailer is jam-packed with action. And the music in this trailer gives me goosebumps - every time.
If you're a Divergent fan and you haven't seen the movie yet, you should consider it. Here's my review.

Favourite dialogue:
Tris: "I'm not gonna fight you."
Jeanine: "Of course you're not. You're gonna fight YOU."

Favourite scene: 
Coincidentally, 1:45 onwards again.


3) The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Perks has now made it into the list of my all-time favourite movies ever. Although I'm not a fan of the book, I loved the movie adaptation, and I loved this trailer even more. It's so relatable. I feel like a lot of the things Charlie says in this trailer are things I've thought myself. For example: "Tomorrow is my first day... and I really want to turn things around this year."
The heartwarming music helps, too. One of the first track they use is also used in the TFIOS trailer, another one of my favourites.

Favourite dialogues:
Mr. Anderson: "You know, they say if you make one friend on your first day, you're doing okay."
Charlie: "If my English teacher is the only friend I make today, that would be sort of depressing."

Charlie: "Do you think if people knew how crazy you really were, no one would ever talk to you?"
(Sam and Patrick laugh)
Sam: "Come on, let's go be psychos together."

Charlie: "I really want to be a writer, but I don't know what I'd write about."
Sam: "You could write about us."
Patrick: "Call it 'Slut and the Falcon'. Make us solve crimes!"


Sam: "Why do I and everyone I love pick people who treat us like we're nothing?"
Charlie: "We accept the love we think we deserve."

Charlie: "I know there are people who say all these things don't happen. I know these will all be stories someday. But right now, we are alive. And in this moment, I swear we are infinite."

Favourite scene:
Gah, I can't pick. I love every second of this trailer. I'd say as of now, this is my number one favourite trailer. I like it even better than my fandom trailers.



I know this has been a short post, but I do have quite a lot on my plate at the moment, so forgive me for that.
Anyway, these were some trailers I really wanted to share with the world. I'd like to know what your favourite trailers are. Are they also your favourite movies? Let the comment box know.

Bye! :)

Friday, 3 April 2015

Divergent GIF Challenge!

Hi there, Geeks!

Last year, I did a Harry Potter & The Hunger Games GIF Challenge on the blog, and it was very well-received, so now it's time for me to step into another one of my fandoms.
Obviously, this post has spoilers for the first Divergent book.

Using every third GIF in my collection to show my reaction to every situation, presenting to you... The Divergent GIF Challenge!

What you think of Abnegation:

To be honest, I do like the idea of simple living. As long as there's wifi and music and books, of course. 

What you think of Erudite:

People who wear always wear blue and spend all their time indoors? THESE ARE MY PEOPLE!

What you think of Amity:

... Well, then I clearly can't be Amity. 

What you think of Dauntless:

More like it's-always-get-beaten-up time, but sure, maybe they have great pizza along with the chocolate cake.

What you think of Candor:

The truth is overrated. 

Your reaction to your aptitude test result:

I guess I'm really looking forward to pizza, simple living and staying indoors. But wait... despite being Divergent, I still have to pick just one? I can't do all three?

When you find out that you're Divergent:

Swati, stop it. Your Erudite is showing.

Your family's reaction to your new faction:

Thanks for that, sweet parents and beautiful sister. No Dauntless cake pizza for you. 

Your new faction's reaction to you:

They love me so much they're feeling all the Feels. Wow. I must be something awesome in this universe.

Meeting Four:

The young but mature, strong but silent Four is going to be my mentor and potential love interest? Clearly, this universe is verrry different from reality.

Reaction to Eric:

I don't like you, Eric. 

What Christina, Al and Will think of you:

They either hate me or they think I'm as strong as Katniss and Gale. I think I'll go with the latter, thank you very much.

Your reaction to Al's confession of love:

Uh, wait, what? I barely even know you, kid.

How you fight during initiation:

I need to control my superhuman strength to prevent myself from accidentally killing off my peers. I'm so heroic and selfless in this world!

How you feel about Peter:

Come on, that's Miles Teller. Of course we're going to be best friends. 

Your reaction to Al's death:

I am a bitch. Peter is clearly a bad influence on me.

What your fear landscape is like:

Being positive is my fear landscape, is it? Sounds like 2014 me.

When you go through your fear landscape:

I found the silver lining! And it isn't scary at all!

When your parents die:

Why am I not crying? Why am I - oh, wait, I must have found some silly silver lining and decided to be happy in spite of the fact that my parents are dead and I now have to take care of that wimpy brother of mine. Yes, I mean you, Caleb.

When you have to shoot Will:

Miles Teller - er, I mean Peter - and I are now best friends. We were going to lose touch anyway, Will. Goodbye.

When you and Four take down the simulation:

That wasn't so difficult, was it? And all that happened was that three of my favourite people died. What a wonderful world!

On the train to Amity:

The adrenaline rush is gone and common sense has kicked in. I am now fleeing from the government. Of course there's no silver lining. Everything is a trap.
At least the handsome Four and the funny Peter are next to me. Go away, Caleb. You're annoying me.

For some reason, all these GIF challenges make me out to be some sort of horrible person. I guess it's a good thing I'm not a character out of any young adult dystopia... but what if I am?

I guess we'll never know.

Part of this challenge was taken from Tumblr, and a part of it was coined by me. Feel free to do this challenge, but make sure you send me a link so I can see what kind of Divergent you would be!

That's all for today, Geeks. Bye!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

'The Divergent Series: Insurgent' Discussion (SPOILERS)

Beatrice Prior must confront her inner demons and continue her fight against a powerful alliance which threatens to tear her society apart with the help from others on her side.

(Off-topic: how cool is that poster?)

This is the first time I'm making a post specifically about all the spoilers in a movie. One of my friends suggested I start spoiler discussions on the blog, because let's face it - spoiler-free reviews can get a little boring for those who've already seen the movie and want to talk about it.

So here's a spoiler warning: If you haven't read the ENTIRE Divergent Trilogy, including the ending of the final book, please do not proceed. Thank you for the views.


I watched Insurgent last Saturday, and despite the many book-to-movie changes, I actually enjoyed it (you can read my review here).
So in today's blog post, I'm going to talk about about some of those changes. Here goes!

1) What's with the Rush?
True to the book, Tris, Tobias (er, I mean Four), Caleb and Peter do seek refuge at Amity headquarters in the beginning of the story, but in the film version, they limit their stay to less than ten minutes, if I'm not mistaken. Tris and Peter's fight is shown, but we don't see Tris high on the peace serum - something I was really, really looking forward to.
Next moment, Eric and his cronies are at Amity, searching for our heroes. Peter betrays them and Tris, Four and Caleb escape to the train.

2) The Mystery Box
We've all been whining about this ever since the second trailer came out. What is up with them introducing this 'box' theory? Jeanine claims that this box, which was retrieved from the wreckage of the Prior household, holds the key to the future of their world. But there's a catch: only a true Divergent can open it. And when I say 'true Divergent', I mean someone who has traits of ALL five factions.


3) 'Tobias'
A major change that occurs towards the end of the first Divergent novel is that Tris finally finds out her boyfriend's real name and starts using it. But here we are, at the second movie, and she's still pretending that Tobias is Four. I understand that the moviemakers don't want to confuse the viewers, but the name-change is what shows that 'Four' loves Tris enough to trust her with his past. Cutting that part out didn't help the love story.

4) The Sex
Okay, I'm from India, so the sex scene (whether PG-13 or not) was cut, that too, in a way that ruined the continuity of the movie. One moment Four is trying to convince Tris not to surrender herself to Jeanine, next moment they're both lying down next to each other, naked, and then Tris stands up and decides to surrender herself to Jeanine.

In the books, the sex didn't happen until Allegiant, and we still aren't sure if that even was sex. Veronica Roth wrote it with a lot of ambiguity so that the readers could interpret it either way.

5) Uriah, Marlene, Lynn, Marcus and Johanna
These are all prominent characters throughout the series, and although the director decided to include them in Insurgent, they're only given about five minutes of screentime each.
Johanna and Marcus' discussions at Amity headquarters are conveniently left out. Marcus only appears in one scene where his son and Tris are spiteful towards him.
Uriah is revealed to be Divergent, but nobody cares because he's a nobody. Marlene does fall to her death while under a simulation, but it has no impact on the viewers because she's a nobody, and Lynn is seen in a few scenes, but she's still mostly a nobody.

6) Tris' Divergence
As we've seen in the novels and the first Divergent movie, Tris shows Divergence for three factions: Abnegation, Dauntless, and Erudite. But in this movie, a device analyses her to be 100% Divergent. Does that mean she could fit into Amity and Candor as well?
And true to that assumption, Tris does pass the simulations for all five factions in order to open the aforementioned box.

7) The Final Fight
So remember how Peter and Four help Tris break out of Erudite headquarters so they can gear up for the final fight showdown where Tris (and Tori) attempt to find Jeanine so they can kill her?
Well, only fifty percent of that happens.
After escaping from Jeanine's clutches, Tris returns to the simulation room to complete her Amity simulation so she can open the box. There is no simulated army, no attack on any headquarters. Tris just opens the box with her 'superpowers'.


8) The Message
The box opens and sure enough, it holds the future the people deserve. Only it's not the future Jeanine expected it to be. The hologram lady (she remains unnamed) explains that this was all an experiment and when the Divergent population increases, the people must go beyond the fence into the new world. Jeanine immediately decides to hide this box and the message from everyone. However, the Factionless and Dauntless storm in and take control of the situation.
We do not find out that the unnamed lady is actually Edith Prior and is related to Tris. I'm not sure if that will be revealed in the next film or if they find it too irrelevant to include.

9) The Ending
The contents of the box are projected everywhere in the city, and all the people of all the factions are shown walking out of their homes towards the fence.
This is in sharp contrast to the novels, where under Evelyn's rule, everyone was prohibited from going outside the city.
In the last few moments of the film, Jeanine is shot to death by Evelyn. The screen fades to black.


Now, here are some things I'd like to discuss with you, dear reader. What did you think of all these changes? Don't you find it weird that Tris is suddenly Divergent for all the factions? Did you also feel like Four didn't have too much to do? Did you also find yourself eager to watch any scene that had Miles Teller (Peter) in it? Oh, that boy is hilarious.
And now that everyone's moving towards the fence, how are the moviemakers planning to adapt Allegiant? I have a feeling it's going to be very different. They might even change the ending and not kill Tris. I personally won't mind if they're liberal with the changes. Allegiant is my least favourite book in the series.

Do you have any more thoughts about this movie? Let me know in the comment section.

I hope you enjoyed the very first Spoiler Discussion! I assure you that there will be many more to come. Bye for now, Geeks! :)

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Pretty Little Liars 5x25 (Welcome to the Dollhouse): A Recap

 
'A' has always had fun playing with Aria, Emily, Hanna & Spencer, but now "they" have the biggest game to date in store for the girls. As shocking secrets come to light and the biggest clue to the 'A' mystery is revealed, is this one play date the Liars can survive? 

What. The. Hell.

So this #PLLTuesday was the season finale of Pretty Little Liars, and the makers of the show claimed that the biggest clue to the identity of 'A' will be revealed.
They revealed it, alright.

Recap

The Liars were arrested as accomplices to Mona's murder last week, and this episode opens with all four of them (Hanna included) sitting in the back of a police van, handcuffed, on their way to jail. And then suddenly there's a scuffle at the front of the van with the driver and 'A' appears to gas the girls.
When they wake up, they find that they're locked inside a dollhouse of sorts which has life-sized replicas of each of their bedrooms. They're playing the biggest game of their lives... and the referee is 'A'.

And as it turns out, Mona is indeed alive - and one of the contenders in this freaky game. Dressed in a yellow ruffled top and an Alison mask, 'A' has been forcing Mona to pretend to be the blonde that caused all this drama in the first place.


Then Toby (who is still a part of the police force; I suppose he isn't ready to part with his shiny cop badge yet) is seen speaking with Veronica and Peter Hastings about the abducted police van and the girls being hijacked. They decide not to tell the other parents or the media anything yet and instead decide to get to the bottom of this.

Caleb, Ezra and Toby are doing their best to hack into the police security systems and track the missing van, but in vain. The Hastings, after speaking with Alison and finally finding out that this 'A' business still isn't over, join forces with the boys. It is then that Mrs. Hastings gets a call from Melissa. As she picks up the phone, we see Andrew listening to the conversation with the help of his headphones and laptop. Why? Why is he still being creepy?

Meanwhile, the doll game continues. The girls are monitored 24/7 except for three minutes at night when the power goes out and the generators need to be switched on. It is then that all five of them can talk about where they are and how they can get out of it.

Spencer makes a shocking revelation at night when she discovers that the alphabet blocks in one of the rooms spell out 'CHARLES'. Could that be who 'A' is?


Detective Tanner decides to bring Caleb in for questioning. After all, who else could manage to hack into the systems and take control of the van? But his lawyers (the Hastings) make a solid case to convince Tanner to let Caleb use their computers to track the van.
As 'A' pulls the strings and makes them decorate a hall for senior prom, the girls devise a strategy to make the generators fail in order to escape from the dollhouse.

When their plan succeeds on prom night and Charles (still wearing a mask) is unable to stop them, Spencer and Mona discover a room full of pictures and videos of the DiLaurentis family.

Caleb tracks the location of the van and the police chase is on. Although Tanner finds the control room where 'A' keeps all his surveillance equipment, they are unable to find the location of the dollhouse.

In the final few moments of the episode, the girls finally make it out of the dollhouse... but they're still surrounded by an electric fence. And now that the power has come back on, and they seem to be in the middle of nowhere, how will they escape from 'A'?


Thoughts

I can't understand what possible motive 'A' (or should I call him Charles?) could have to pull this off. Building a house that looks exactly like the Liars' bedrooms and living rooms? Why would anyone waste so much of money and time doing that? How mentally deranged is 'A'?

Next, I loved the involvement of the Hastings in this mystery. Thank you, writers, for realising that parents CAN be helpful when their kids are in trouble. I sincerely hope to see the other parents working together to bring 'A' down in season six.

Mona's alive... then how do you explain her dead body being shown? I'm confused.

It's a little surprising how dumb the girls are. They repeated several times that "there's five of us and one of him", so when the power shut down while Charles was standing in front of them, why didn't they attack him? Why didn't they unmask him, once and for all? Why did they choose to run towards an escape they didn't even know about, that too while wearing poofy dresses and high heels?


So Charles is 'A'... and somehow linked to the DiLaurentis family. In the video, there were two boys of the same age with Mrs. DiLaurentis. So Charles has to be Jason's twin and at least five or six years older than the girls.

I suppose that rules out Andrew. But why was he spying on that phone conversation? Was that a red herring? Why do all of Aria's boyfriends spy on other people so much?

Most Likely to be 'A' This Week

Obviously, it's Charles DiLaurentis. But who is he? My money is on the twin theory. Either he's Jason's mentally ill twin brother who escaped from Radley many years ago, or he's Jason with a split personality.

Next Season

I have no idea what's going to happen in season six with Charles or 'A' or whoever it is.

In short, it's decided: the writers of this show are never going to be direct or upfront with us. And I can't believe the 'Daisy' spoilers were all true.
I can't believe that 'A' is someone we probably haven't even met yet. I can't believe that this finale had such a... disappointing ending.


What did you think of this shocking finale, PLL Geeks? What's your Charles theory? Let me know in the comments. I really need to talk about this episode with someone!

I'll see you next time! Bye!