Resources for Readers  #WriteBravely #WTFOW

Resources for Readers #WriteBravely #WTFOW

The digital age has exploded the resources available for a reader.  A decade or so ago,  we had limited choices.  We would know about books through word of mouth,  or the small limited columns in newspapers.  Piracy was rampant.  Choices were limited to paperbacks only.  The Internet has been a great leveler here.  And so are the apps and websites.  A reader is never deprived of his read,  even if we forget to carry our paperbacks, or the Kindle.

Here are some of the Android apps/Websites I use as a reader.
  1. Kindle App – For reading all my Kindle books.  Also, the innumerable resources available online for Kindle readers like newspapers, magazines, free Kindle books.
  2. Wattpad – This is an app which is for the reader and also the writer.  It allows me to write my own stories.  We can read stories written by others.  They can vote for our stories.  It has a social media like feel with having followers, news updates from followers and even weekly and monthly writing contests.  It has some great reads for inspiration.
  3. Pocket – If you have no time to read or is not having sufficient net connection on the phone,  use Pocket to bookmark your reads.  You can get to it later.  Here also, you can follow other people and see what they are reading.  You can also recommend reads to your friends who follow you.
  4. Instapaper –  This one is similar to Pocket but with the whole social networking thing.  It lets you book mark and read it later.  I love this better than Pocket for its clean screen and no-nonsense interface.
  5. WordPress – WordPress needs no recommendation here.  I use it to do pretty much everything we can do on the WordPress website.  It is simple, easy to use.  It lets you see comments, respond to them, read new blogs.  It is a must have for a wordpress blogger.
  6. Feedly –  Feedly lets you follow blogs across WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr or anything else.  You can create groups for bloggers like we can do in Twitter.  It lets you see the unread blog posts of a blog.  You can surely not miss another entry from your blogger friends.  I have created groups for BookBloggers, MomBloggers, Writing, Prompts.  Easy to segregate and use with a neat interface.
  7. Bloglovin – This one is similar to Feedly but with slightly more social interaction wherein you can follow other bloggers and have followers for you.   The webpages open with a Bloglovin overlay.  It is good but I find it a bit complicated as it keeps reminding to follow others and the overlay is a turn off.  I love Feedly more.
  8. Audible / AudioBooks / Librivox – If you are a fan of audio books,  then these are some of the apps to use.  Audible is an Amazon entity and comes with the might of Amazon behind it.  Audiobooks is also good.  Librivox is free audiobook app with the reading done by volunteers.  It has mostly classic books whose copyrights have expired.  We can also download from Librivox and listen to the clips later.  It is my go to website/app for classics.  For Hindi audiobooks,  there is ‘Suno’.
  9. Goodreads – Another Amazon product.  I keep track of the books I read on the app.  It provides recommendations of similar books.  I can also see what others are reading and if they liked it or not.  It is the Facebook for readers.  The app is a bit on the heavy side, but useful to keep track of your reads.  I mostly access Goodreads website.
  10. Netgalley – This is one of the best websites I discovered through some other readers.  Netgalley gives you ARCs for free.  All you have to do is, read them and give your feedback.  The more consistent the feedback,  higher your chances of getting more ARCs.  It has the latest and some of the best books.  They give out Kindle, Nook, PDF copies.  Create an account on Netgalley, browse for books in the genre you like and apply for them.  The publisher may /may not allow you the ARC.  But using Netgalley,  I have read some famous books like Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi,  The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  Currently, I am reading a Salman Rushdie book called ‘The Golden House’ whose publishing date is 5th September.

Do you use these resources?  Which is your favourite resource?  Is there a resource if you want to share?


I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6.

 

Memories I treasure    #WTFOW #writebravely

Memories I treasure #WTFOW #writebravely

At the beginning of this year,  I had chosen the word ‘discover’ as the word of the year for me.  One of the concepts I wanted to discover more was the Joy of minimalism.  I have been consciously inculcating it in day-to-day life leading to many subtle changes.  I discovered there is no joy in possessing more materials.  I no longer feel the urge to rush to sales or the home decor shops.  The real joy is in treasuring our relationships, our memories and our time.

I believe in using my time to make more memories.  As that is what will remain with us throughout our lives.  Tell me, do you feel happy when the bank sends you an SMS saying ‘Salary is credited’.  Of course, you do.  But, how does it compare with an SMS/Whatsapp from a friend, or that phone call from someone in the past.

“One day, your life will flash before your eyes.  Make sure it’s worth watching.”

I do not want to be on my death bed to think about a cherished life.  I want to think about it now.  It has to be the face of my sons when I saw them for the first time, the heady days of an innocent love, the crazy outings with friends. Everything to do with a rush of emotions,  a moment to treasure forever.

As we grow older,  we become more practical and cynical.  And we wonder will we ever feel the same heady rush of our teenage years.   Our outlook on life is now tinged with our life experiences.  We hear of exhausted or divorced friends who will make jokes about relationships and forward them on Whatsapp.  The friends who try to look younger with each passing year,  competing with their children.  Friends going on fabulous vacations around the world.

But,  what I really treasure are memories.  Some are downright silly.  On Sundays,  I like to wake up before the family.  I like to simply watch them sleeping peacefully.  I tip-toe onto my children’s bedroom,  pull the curtains closer, watch them for a while. My elder son with his one hand on the ubiquitous mobile.  The younger one with the blanket covering his head.  Sometimes, running my fingers on their hair.   I know this will change soon,  in a not too distant future.  Then  I tip-toe back to my bedroom to see the husband snoring away to glory with hair sticking out on the pillow.  I know this will not change.  It is the loveliest sight and my most treasured one.


I am taking part in The Write Tribe Festival of Words #6.  Today’s prompt is to write about a treasure. 

When vada pavs came to the rescue

When vada pavs came to the rescue

The vada pav was born in the 1960s in the textile mill areas of Mumbai.  It is a quick grab and bite snack, easy on the pocket, fulfilling on the stomach.  Vada Pavs are sold in the millions every day.  During recession times,  we used to joke that if we ever become jobless,  we will start our own vada pav stall. Source : Wikipedia

But someone, really followed it.  A few years ago,  a Vada pav shop opened in my neighborhood.  It is no roadside eatery.  It is a proper shop which sold only vada pavs.  It is managed by a homely middle aged lady and two middle aged men.  One is the husband and the other is a relative.  My inquisitive friend informed me that the husband lost his job due to his factory shutting down and so they have started this shop.  The shop owners would come in the mornings and evenings and sell vada pavs.  Over the years,  they have made up their own brand due to the distinct taste of their vadas,  chutneys and softer pav.  The taste is the only identifier.  There is no fancy packaging, tissues and all that snazz.  Just unadulterated vada pav packed in newspaper or a paper plate or sometimes hand.  Hygiene is high priority.  We have to queue up outside the shop to get our share of vada pavs.  The queues are long and monsoon queues are longer,  but we do not want to miss out on our favorite local vada pav.  They further expanded the menu to include samosas and bhajjis,  too.  Everything is managed by these three people.

They are just one of the few nameless souls who add flavor to my small locality.  Wouldn’t it be fun to discover such quaint places which only cater a niche food?

Source : Zomato.com I can think of the ice cream shop at Churchgate at Wankhede stadium who serve handmade ice-cream sandwiched between two wafers.  The place is packed (maybe they should do the queue thing) with families waiting for their orders.  They insist they have no branches.  They use only natural ingredients and the ice-cream is out of the world.  Try  it out.  Any more can you think of.

I can now look them up on the Nouns App available on Google Playstore.  It is an app for foodies, by foodies where people share their food experiences.  Spread the word of your favorite food eateries and find new ones through the app.


Disclaimer : This is a sponsored post.  Views are my own.  

Images source : Vada Pav – Wikipedia.com,  Ice Cream – Zomato.com 

So many things to do,  so little time #MondayMusings

So many things to do, so little time #MondayMusings

Monday starts post a lazy weekend with not a single significant activity done by me.  I just planted two new pots on my window sill.   But, every moment this weekend I spent thinking and working on my blog and blog posts. And I must thank Corinne @ WriteTribe for this.

Over the weekend, I have been reading up on ‘parallax’ website designing.  You can see this on the Write Tribe website itself.  I am seeing this design being used on many websites – corporate as well as personal.  The advantage being,  it should load faster and will be easy to navigate on a mobile phone.  Right now, I am checking out youtube videos for the same.  Something to think about during my spare times.  Have you tried this design?  I do not see any disadvantages.  Let me know if any.

I love the Saturday Story prompts on the Write Tribe group where she gives a prompt to write flash fiction in five sentences. It is liberating to write out lines without thinking about perfection, relevance, grammar, logic and no frills like setting up a blog post. Just dash five lines and read others’ stories. It has been a good writing exercise and brought back my story telling mojo.  I even woke up in the middle of my sleep to jot down some lines which I could use later.  Most of the group members came up with multiple stories. Continue reading

Never in My Name #NotInMyName

Never in My Name #NotInMyName

A Muslim friend of mine,  raved and ranted about the killing of 16-year-old Junaid in Delhi.  He forwarded a message which was spewing with hatred and accused all Hindus of being the killers.  This was not an illiterate or impulsive youth.  This is a perfectly sane, educated, middle-aged family man who is also a Doctor.  Where did this hate come from? We have spent years together sitting on the same bench as classmates and never hated each other.

There was no way I could think of comforting him.  But, it showed his deep insecurities living in a country in which he and his ancestors were born.  He was worrying about a future for his children who belong to this country.  Where should he go?  Who will comfort his fears?   When did it become ‘them’ and ‘us’?  Weren’t we the same?   Continue reading