Walter’s review of Candide by Voltaire

51jejxue7jl-_sx310_bo1204203200_Candide is an orphaned servant from a European castle who sees violence and war at an early age. He travels across Europe looking for love and wealth, meeting all kinds of characters and giving his opinion/analysis of all the archetypes they resemble. He eventually finds peace and morality in El Dorado, but leaves it, rich and looking for his love.
I would recommend this book to students, because Voltaire uses the picaresque adventure to describe lots of classic struggles and emotions. You can see how Candide handles them, hear different character’s viewpoints on issues you may be struggling with yourself, and just get to read a fun story.

Walter rates this book 4.5/5

Tags: travel, self-discovery, romance, philosophy, adventure

Medha’s Review of My So-Called Bollywood Life by Nisha Sharma

Summary from the Publisher: Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soul mate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her eighteenth birthday, and Raj meets all the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked when she returns from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted. Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek and one of the few people Winnie can count on. Dev is smart and charming, and he challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope and find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy and her chance to live happily ever after? To find her perfect ending, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.

Medha’s Review:  Honestly, this book’s plot development is rather weak. The premise was interesting enough, but everything that happens in this book is very predictable. That being said, the Bollywood weighs it out. This book is smart, because it takes the Indian culture through the eyes of girl who is obsessed with Bollywood. It works well, because the Bollywood isn’t just a side piece about the Indian-ness, it’s the main thing. The Shah Rukh Khan references kept me going, and I loved the short movie reviews at the beginning of each chapter! Winnie’s take on everything from poojas to shopping is very authentic, and makes the story relatable. While the way she handles things with Raj is iffy at best, the lifestyle depicted in the book is charming and very accurate. I have to say though: who starts watching Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge at 11 pm on a school night??? No desi mom would allow that, tbh. There were a lot of references to movies that even I, a Bollywood follower, did not quite understand. Whether they were older movies, or just not very popular ones, a few jokes did go over my head. Still, there were plenty that I did understand, and I loved them! Other than the Bollywood, this book doesn’t do much to surprise. The characters are all rather bland, and Dev and Raj seem too perfect to be realistic. Winnie seems to have a whole lot of time for a senior filling out college apps, as she goes gallivanting all the time and watches movies whenever she feels like it. This book would be a great read if you’re a fellow Shah Rukh Khan fan. Otherwise, feel free to skip it. (I’m not exaggerating. Winnie has approximately six dreams where Shah Rukh Khan imparts wisdom to her in the form of movie dialogues. I am not making this up.)

Medha rates this book 3/5

Tags: Family, mild romance, friendship, bollywood, culture, relationships, film