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Books & Authors

Stories of sex, drugs, rock & roll galore in Sir Elton John’s memoir



Did you know that Sylvester Stallone and Richard Gere once almost had a fist fight over Princess Diana or, Katharine Hepburn used Elton John’s swimming pool and ended up ‘cleaning’ it? These interesting facts are mentioned by Elton in his just-released memoir Me: Elton John, which is a no-holds-barred account of his life and work and is filled with sex, drugs and rock and roll.

In 1993, he hosted a dinner in honour of the then head of Walt Disney Studios Jeffrey Katzenberg and among the guests were Stallone, Gere and Diana besides George Michael and Richard Curtis and his wife Emma Freud.

Soon, Gere and Diana seemed taken with each other and were locked in rapt conversation.

Diana had just split from Prince Charles and Gere had ended his relationship with Cindy Crawford.

“Judging by the kind of looks he kept shooting them, Diana and Richard Gere’s newly blossoming friendship was not going down well with Sylvester Stallone at all,” Elton recalls.

“I think he may have turned up to the party with the express intention of picking Diana up, only to find his plans for the evening ruined,” he adds.

When the dinner was served, Gere and Stallone were conspicuous by their absence.

Elton’s partner David Furnish found them in the corridor, “squaring up to each other, apparently about to settle their differences over Diana by having a fist fight”.

“After dinner, Diana and Gere resumed their position together in front of the fire, and Stallone eventually stormed off home,” Elton writes.

One summer Sunday afternoon, Elton was sitting outside his bungalow with his former partner John Reid having a snack, when they noticed a 60-something lady who looked a little like Hepburn cycling up their drive.

It was Hepburn indeed and wanted to use Elton’s pool. When he gave her the nod, she reappeared in a swimsuit five minutes later, complaining that there was a dead frog in the pool.

“When I dithered about how to get it out – I’m a bit squeamish about things like that – she just jumped in and grabbed it with her hand. I asked her how she could bear to touch it. ‘Character, young man,’ she nodded sternly,” Elton writes.

On his cocaine addiction, he says coke gave him confidence and euphoria and he did things he would never have had the courage to do or try if he hadn’t been on it.

In his official autobiography, published globally by Pan Macmillan, Elton reveals several other truths about his extraordinary life. Written by Elton with writer and music critic Alexis Petridis, it is also a story about the transformative power of music, social change over the last 60 years, and redemption.

He also writes powerfully about getting clean and changing his life, about finding love with David Furnish and becoming a father.

Christened Reginald Dwight, this is the story of a shy boy with Buddy Holly glasses who grew up in the London suburb of Pinner and dreamed of becoming a pop star. By the age of 23, he was performing his first gig in America, facing an astonished audience in his bright yellow dungarees, a star-spangled T-shirt and boots with wings. Elton John had arrived; and the music world would never be the same again.

His life has been full of drama, from the early rejection of his work with songwriting partner Bernie Taupin to spinning out of control as a chart-topping superstar; from halfheartedly trying to drown himself in his LA swimming pool to disco-dancing with the Queen; from friendships with John Lennon, Freddie Mercury and George Michael to setting up his AIDS Foundation.


Books & Authors

Shilpa Goel takes a poetic path to communicate with God through ‘Poetic letters to God’



Author Shilpa Goel, who has been listed among top 10 on the list of 31 modern poets you should follow by Glow habits, has presented the readers with a beautiful communication product in the form of a collection of verses titled ‘Poetic letters to God’. The book stands out due to multiple reasons.

Firstly, it attempts a subject which is already quite well explored but perhaps never been presented the way it has been done by Goel. Verses and letters had always been considered as two different genres. But perhaps had never been thought of something which can be blended together. That’s exactly where Shilpa Goel does a brilliant job.

Secondly, the book stands out due to its simplicity. Right from the word god you, as a reader can make out what the author is intending to do through this particular book. To begin with, the book defines its objective precisely; In the middle, it establishes the intended message firmly and towards the end the book, satisfies the readers by conveying the message to the fullest.

Thirdly, the book can be termed as a really special book due to the honesty reflected throughout the work. Different people take different routes and medium to reach and communicate with God. As confessed by the author, she has always considered writing as that form for her. She started writing poems as messages which she wanted God to know. Soon this became a habit for her and what followed is a wonderful set of creations in the form of free verses. The readers can only feel greatly happy knowing that the author had decided to publish these set of write ups in the form of a book by titling it as ‘Poetic letters to God’.

Shilpa has shown glimpses of brilliance in this particular book. Readers can only expect her to come up with her next book soon. The way she has built the reputation for her, the reading fraternity will eagerly be waiting for her next book. This book is recommended for readers and non-readers alike. This is a perfect read for the regular readers for the novelty of its presentation. The same is applicable for the non-readers too due to the easily relatable subject she selected. Whatever be your type grab a copy of this book and witness the fascinating communication between a golden heart and the almighty.

Buy Poetic Letters To God From Amazon At Just Rs.190

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Books & Authors

‘They Go to Sleep’ is a colourful addition to the Canvas of Indian Short Stories



Saugata Chakraborty’s recent short story collection titled ‘They Go to Sleep’ opens with a psychological thriller of the same name. A young widow of a drug overdose victim disappears from Goa. Three years later, her damaged PAN Card was recovered from a ladies purse lying on the floor of a Kolkata yellow taxi. The foreigner lady passenger who hands over the wallet to the cabbie gets down at the airport and makes a call to the Homicide Squad of Kolkata Police a few minutes before the departure of her flight to London. She claims that a murderer is hiding in Kolkata and that she has left behind a vital clue for the Police to unearth.
Is there any truth in her claims?
Would the Police be able to connect the dots and apprehend the real culprit?
What happens when a murderer who has been evading arrest lands behind bars?

The answers form the core of this racy plot.

The eighth story ‘Aperture’, on the other hand, is a poignant chronicle of the transition of a young Kashmiri girl into a visual storyteller. The conflict in the valley casts a shadow into the images she captures. She grows from strength to strength on the face of rising adversity as the society that she feels for misinterprets her body of work.

Such raw human emotions are again at play in ‘Rare’ where one can probably find the shadow of the author himself. An employee of the RBI finds a windfall in a handful of rare coins. What will he do with the treasure? Will he be able to overcome his greed? A Marine Lines trader in currencies finds out in this story.

Twelve stories of twelve different genres make it a complete read. Now you can find the book also at Noida Literature Festival 2019 (November 16-17). Don’t miss the chance to grab an autographed copy.

Buy They Go To Sleep From Amazon At Just Rs.179

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Books & Authors

The book of a mother or the mother of a book – ‘Baby on Board’ by Sonia Sahijwani Saini will keep you guessing



Author Sonia Sahijwani Saini had always been in professions which dealt with balance. She mastered the art of finding the correct equilibrium between assets and liabilities in balance sheets during her stint with commerce before switching her career in the quest of truth in the legal domain. After doing a tremendous job with her debut book ‘Yours Legally’, she has shown this element of balance in her second book ‘Baby on Board’.

‘Baby on Board’ is a book of a beautiful journey – from the fear of pregnancy to the pride of motherhood. India being the second highest in terms of population has many women who experience this phase on a daily basis. But the problem is that very few take the pain of sharing this precious experience with future mothers. That’s exactly where author Ms Sonia deserves a big round of applause – she not only fought the psychological apprehensions now famously called ‘tokophobia’ but also ensured that the story of overcoming these fears is told to everyone.

The book is penned beautifully – it starts with getting ready for pregnancy and ends with the arrival of the bundle of joy. In between, it describes the different phases structurally and elegantly. The book establishes very aptly how a ‘couple’ gets pregnant and not just the would be mother. Layer by layer through her writing, the author explores the fun side of this amazingly adventurous journey. The content stands out in two different aspects – firstly, for introducing the right blend of humor on a topic which is otherwise thought of and discussed with grim faces in India; secondly, the book can also work as a psychological compendium for someone who herself is a would be parent.

Even though the book talks about a journey which is considered as eternal by many, the author has taken a very closed looped approach to write the book. It does not stop after the birth; It goes beyond it and talks about how it feels post delivery. While starting to read the book one may think of it as a book of a mother. But slowly as the reader starts absorbing the contents, one starts realizing it is perhaps not the book of a mother – rather, it’s the other way around . It’s the mother of a book.

Buy Baby On Board From Amazon At Just Rs.149
Buy Yours Legally From Amazon At Just Rs.149

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