Tag Archives: books read

EXILE a memoir by Taslima Nasrin

EXILE a memoir by Taslima Nasrin
EXILE a memoir by Taslima Nasrin
  • Language: English / Translated
  • Binding: Hardback
  • Publisher: Penguin Random House India
  • Genre: Biographies & Autobiographies
  • ISBN: 9780670088744, 0670088749
  • Edition: 1, 2016
  • Pages: 336

I know Taslima Nasreen from what I have read in the newspapers and especially the incident at Hyderabad where she was attacked and had to be rescued. And ofcourse from the twitter world where she keeps talking as an independent voice unfettered by trolls whichever religion they may belong to.

I now know the reason why she is fiercely independent or rather she has her reasons and she perhaps lives to exemplify those statements that she makes unlike the so called liberals who she has called out in this book who take refuge of the situations and then give enough excuses on why they cant take a stand or show having a spine.

Reading the preface in the book gives us enough of how this book has come to life. It perhaps is the way with all her other books too. Thanks to the translator, I am sure this must have been a challenge in a way as much for the author.

The title should have been hard one for Taslima since you cant be in exile in your country and worse in the place that you wanted to be back ‘home’ and how that can be shattered by politics and fundamentalism.

The book spares no one in this narration of events that lead to her exile and how she was lost in time if I can put it that way. If there is a place called nowhere probably thats where the people wanted her to go.

I am for the first time taking a political stand on a book and a review probably I am at odds with what the left liberals have done to the fabric of the country and no one needs to read anything else than this book to show their hypocrisy. A stark reality of how even the media is hand in glove with liberals when they cant take criticism or feel like offended is glaringly revealed with the way they held themselves outsing Taslima from Calcutta the now Kolkatta.

Fundamentalism doesnt have a religion its got only a reason to be what it is.

The book is got different styles and it takes time to get into the groove, simply because the events described there are so much of disturbance and those we didn’t know first hand. Some places the narrative changes to poetry and then to instances given as it is in a dialogue format a part of diary which the author had.

I would recommend this book for its retelling of our times from a perspective of a free woman and will help understand the psyche of the world when it comes to fighting truth and the uglyness it creates in the society on its own.

My admiration for translated version have gone up considerably after reading this book and kudos to the translator for having done a fabulous job here.

Buy your copy here : Flipkart

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Review Program and thanks Flipkart for the copy.

Lanka’s Princess by Kavita Kane a book review

lanka-s-princess-original

 

  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India
  • ISBN: 9788129144515, 8129144514
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 280

Lanka’s Princess is a tale of Meenakshi, the Surpanakha as we know her. The name sticking to her because of her nails or claws that she had on her fingers. The story is an exhaustive one which tells you about the troubled childhood. I could easily see the Kaliyuga version being played in teleserials and I am sure these guys can’t match to the cunningness and thinking that Meenakshi had.

This is a fantastic effort by the author, I am reading her for the first time. Mindblown by the intricacies and exhaustiveness of the narration, she dwells so deep into the psyche of the character called Meenakshi aka Surpanakha.

The scenes with her mother and her doting the father are real emotive ones that sets it in a contemporary age and it might look like the story of our neighbourhood. I am sure the Saas Bhau serials cant even come anywhere near in terms of cunningness that sets the tale across ending with Ravan.

What an intricate family relationship that Ravan and his family had across the spectrum including Vishnu as much as his Adhi Sesha being a part of Ravan’s clan. Its also a story that feeds on ambition and self praise and towering on the self and ego of one person Ravan and abetted by his sister Meenakshi who feels neglected since childhood.

Revenge is a kind word here to be used since we see how the flare up from small incidents take shape of a ill feeling that can destroy the person and all those around her. Its about the poison tree that people water forgetting things and eating its fruits later.

The characterisation of all the people in this tale is such an astonishing feature, be it Ram, Ravan, Lakshman or the heroine of this saga, Meenakshi. The story is a rivetting one and the language is very addictive in a sense that its easy to read and turn pages.

I loved the research behind this book and a new Ramayana played out in front of me, much to the discomfort that Sita wasn’t the primary reason for Ravan to wage a war. Quite often we do take the face value of the stories thats been given to us. The magic of the mythology that we have inherited is beyond compare especially because the characters of Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Bhagvatham have some common time travelling and relationships beyond their ages when they happened.

We see some of the best of Ravan, and the worst of Ravan and many many worsts of Surpanakha.

Some nice narrative on Kumbha who we hardly give the space he deserves. All we know was his six month sleeping / eating.

Absolutely a nice work in total, threw open some new perspective and changed the way you look at what happens when a woman thinks of revenge!

Thanks Rupa Publications for your copy and thanks to the Kavita Kane for this wonderful work and hope to read many more stories that needs to be told.

PS: The author Kavita Kane specialises in telling the stories of some of the important women in the epics thorough their first person account or through their eyes.

SkyFire by Aroon Raman a book review…

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan India
  • ISBN: 9789382616610, 9382616616
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 256

This is a sequel and I must admit that I am reading the author for the first time. As a series I am sure it helps the reader with continuity and the characters make it easy for readers to relate. But ofcourse this is also stand alone issue that this story concerns with.

The issue of weather calibration to cause damage is core of the plot and on the sidelines we do also have child trafficking embedded into the story. The one on weather and its devasting effects it can unleash is equivalent to a biological weapon.

Chandrasekar and his friend Hassan, along with Meenakshi form the characters and unravel an ugly truth of child trafficking since they work with kids from the slum.

The characters stick to the plot and sometimes you could sense a bit of bollywood or cinematic attempts of narattion esp when the villain gives a walk through of the facility.

The fact remains that child trafficking and the laws that govern are highly ridiculous to the extent that you need to be a relative to complain of a lost child!

The book is well written except that it gives away the plot too easily and it triggers the faultlines in the early pages only. And the strands of plot are not interlinked to details but the author seems to suggest well you know this is how things are.

The plot on weather caliberation or the children trafficked both have not been given the real due, and somewhere those break like Sherlock doesn’t hold much and its a bit amatuerish. I know the characters can be amatuers but the work needs to be professional. Somewhere getting introduced to the NGO I got a feeling that they were behind this.

There’s a pace with the book but it could have been more detailed in some aspects of the plots.

It’s a good read and you will finish this in a single sitting max two. The language is simple and narrative is fast paced.

Three Stars from my side. To pick up the book go here: Flipkart

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Review Program. Thanks Flipkart for the review copy.

Senthilkumar

The Calling – Unleash Your True Self By Priya Kumar a book review

calling_

  • Paperback: 166 pages
  • Publisher: Books That Inspire; 1St Edition edition (2016)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 935258970X
  • ISBN-13: 978-9352589708

At the outset let me thank the author and her team for a very personal way that they sent the book. Yeah that beautiful mug too.

Ever since that I have been following her on twitter and other social media, its has been a great way of looking at her work.

Here let’s look at the book The Calling – Unleash Your True Self, her latest one in print, I am sure she is working on the next, the cover design was a give-away on that.

In everyone’s life there is a purpose and we live half our life not knowing if we are working towards that or if we even think about it. This book will reveal that there is a calling everyone needs to heed. The one calling that will make all the difference and gives you meaning in life. The story of Arjun a corporate honcho who comes across some surprises and ends up doing a trek to Hemakund.

Along the way he gets answers to some of the most perenially thought of pretenses that we have acquired for ourselves. Confusions that we were thinking as clear answers simply because we want to assure ourselves that everything is fine.

Even the so called meditation that we know has a different connotation at that height, if I may put it that way. The heights of the mountains are in a way an ideal to suggest that meaning might differ and you might get to know something that you always thought you know.

The best part is we want to escape from this mundane existance of family for some, career for some and literally run away from all this and expect answers to be what we are and find out the real us.

Quite often till the time we come across those moments of calling all those activities that are tagged spiritual have a totally different meaning and perspectives. Those moments come unasked and unexpected and thats the beauty of this.

The characterisation of Arjun, then Chandu and the sadhu all make for a nice reading and well to get the most of the book I think it should be read and digested and made notes of.

The author has a way with words and its quite straight to the reader and that makes this book easy and relatable to everyone at first instance. We probably don’t know what & how things will be, but if we know the true calling I am sure that will have a bearing on the way we look at this world, the way we interact and they way we live our lives.

We are all Arjuns except that we are in a different role professionally / personally but then the Calling is there for everyone of us.

A great read! You can buy the book here at Amazon or Flipkart.

Senthilkumar

PS: Thanks to the author Priya Kumar for this opportunity and for that wonderful personal message of yours in the book. Feeling happy and that mug will sure serve the message time and again.

The Tantric Curse by Anupama Garg – a Book review

Book Review The Tantric Curse Anupama Garg

The Indian spiritual tradition is always a mystery and that is kept so because people have heard of them only by hear say and never ever tried to find the real body of knowledge.

Quite often it gets twisted simply because the people who want to know it don’t have the patience or would not like to go through the rigour of knowledge seeking.

In this book the author who is a spiritual seeker herself makes a nice attempt to impart those basic understanding of spiritual and the tantric sciences with this novel.

The characters of Krishnam, Rhea make the story and the life and times of Rhea is central to the narration that we have here. The author takes extra care in getting us understand the real meaning of some of the things that are just not true and gives an insight into the lives of sadhaks, gurus and tantra tradition.

The portrayal of Rhea as a common girl and then later getting transformed is one that will leave you  thinking. It’s a rare attempt and a brave one, simply because the author has shown the female as the lead in the story and that helps remove much of the stigma that comes attached to say a Shakthi Dham or a religious place.

The descriptions and definitions at the right places gives us an insight into the real spiritual pursuits rather than those which are highlighted in the normal world and media gets it.

A nice read and a fast paced one could have been a little crisper at places but makes you turn the pages as you go.

Pick this book to know about the real vidya of tantra and how it is practiced and you could remove a lot of misconceptions about the religious and spiritual aspect of tantra.

On a sidenote I really liked the cover page and its got so many things covered.

Buy this book here at Flipkart: http://www.flipkart.com/tantric-curse-english/p/itmecb8fnhc49myu?pid=9788129137524

Amazon link here: http://www.amazon.in/Tantric-Curse-Anupama-Garg/dp/8129137526

Faster, Smarter, Higher – Managing your career by Utkarsh Rai Book Review

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  • Language: English
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Publisher: Rupa Publications India
  • ISBN: 9788129137500, 812913750X
  • Edition: 2016
  • Pages: 199

A career crisis is a phase everyone goes through at some point in time of their life. The earlier one gets it, it makes you better to anticipate somethings for yourself. In this book the author Utkarsh Rai takes us through some of the most mind boggling times when we should have had the real experience of being faster, smarter and think higher.

The author has made the book into 8 parts and each one is a testament on how you can manage different sets of values and sometimes people.

  1. Managing Self
  2. Managing your Manager
  3. Managing your Team
  4. Managing your Peers
  5. Managing your Managers Boss
  6. Managing Managers Peers
  7. Managing Others
  8. Managing the Acrobatics of the future.

The book provides ample insights in giving us the solutions in the form of What can you do? Quite often it’s this question that needs to be answered and that’s how it is done.

The book quotes extensively from the experience and situations which we may come across and this holds very true in case of people to people interaction we may come across in the daily routine.

I think this is an encapsulation in a very fine format which young budding managers need to learn a bit especially about managing their managers and their peers, this I think is a very new way to look at the career prospects and the people influencing the same.

The quotes which accompany the chapters are very thought provoking and mostly application driven and has the ability to propel you to achieve what you want in your career. In hindsight when I look back I feel things could have been different if I had read something like this before early in my career and it could have really made a difference.

I think this book is a go to guide for you whenever you need to go back and check and how you need to work on the situations that you come across. It’s more about people and how we manage them to get the best out of them.

It’s a fast read in a sense but will hold your thoughts for a while and sometimes you might take time to digest and flip through to the next page.

Another aspect is the simple straight talking language that is akin to speaking straight to you, making you comfortable and talking to you in a way that makes it easy to understand and help ourselves.

Pick this book and this will be an immense help for yourself and will turn to be a go to guide for times to come.

This review is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Book review program. To pick up your copy of this book just click here

Senthilkumar

Beauty is a wound by Eka Kurniawan #bookreview

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BOOK DETAILS
Publisher Speaking Tiger
ISBN-10 9385755684
Edition 1
Number of Pages 480 Pages
Publication Year 2016
Language English
ISBN-13 9789385755682
Binding Paperback

Beauty is a wound is a fantastic novel which revolves around a character who we would not even take it our stride for her profession. But the way the author has woven a satire of life and history of nation as much as you can think about it. There is an eerie sense of humour that best describes the way the characters are presented by the author.

There is a way to describe things of the nation if you think about a narration of the history from the characters. The story is also about how you can mix the history and fiction in a classic way to get you the best of storytelling.

There is a rawness in the language and that translates to making it more authentic in a way and the author turns no stones to get you smell the land and get you close to the environment.

There is a momentum with the characters and also the story and it has all the ingredients to make you laugh within. Sometimes there are big sarcastic statements blurted out as if nothing has happened. The weight of the argument is to be seen within the context, there are social messages some modern take on the long customs and then radicalism presented with a simplicity that exudes charm.

I am also in awe of the translator who I am sure has held the story in its entirety and we can see the way the words being explicitly used or abused (you can choose them). A book of this calibre is enhanced when it reaches out to the world population and the stories gets told in multiple languages.

This is the second time in recent days getting to read a translated work with a charm that you can easily identify with the original language and how impactful it would be.

I could see a Salman Rushidique narrative with the history as a backdrop and the characters being woven around the events that shaped the country. Quite possible a history – story best woven with a dose of fiction added to it.

I am sure you will be left with the stories of Dewi Ayu for quite a while after you keep the book down.

Go here to buy the book: http://www.flipkart.com/beauty-wound-english/p/itmegfg5xwburhwy?pid=9789385755682

This is a part of Flipkart Sponsored Book Review Program.

Senthilkumar

In Other Words by Jhumpa Lahiri #bookreview

In_other_words

 

BOOK DETAILS
Publisher Penguin Books Ltd
ISBN-10 0670088897
Imprint Hamish Hamilton
Number of Pages 224 Pages
Publication Year 2016
Language English
ISBN-13 9780670088898
Binding Hardcover

A translation by Ann Goldstein of the original Italian work by Jhumpa Lahiri.

One of the most personal relationship books I have ever come across, simply the best since it outlines the way the relationship is taken forward, quite a few times it looks as if this is the way love works, may be courtship too.

It’s the growing of the bonds between the seeker and the one which is sought perhaps, here its the language which is being learnt by the author, the language is Italian!

It is quite a revelation at a very personal level for the author the way Italian language grasps her attention and how she wants to live the language like no other. It becomes all the more interesting that Italian has never been a part of her upbringing in a way as to experience this kind of approach to language.

Over the years she feels an intimate connection as if this was the call the soul has been waiting for. The way she takes it up learning and the travails and travels in literary world is an nice journey that she takes the readers with.

And when you know this is a translated masterpiece, it makes it all the more alluring and when you read the explanation I think she has put the right perspective. And when we complete the book we know what she meant and she meant every word of it. Probably that is the relationship that she has been nurturing with the language.

There is an air of romance in the way the language is treated as a person, trying to know him or her, the fulfilment of having achieved the goal of possessing the other person or seeing yourself in the other.

Kudos to the translator, we can feel that the justice has been done the way the book progresses in short but sure steps, sometimes looking back to stories that will augment the theory that she holds forth, and sometimes stop to listen to the inner rumblings and sometimes to the practical difficulty in getting to know the perfect grammar and the translator has the pulse and does an excellent job of giving us the feel.

Its a nice book and well its a non fiction and that makes it a must read title. If you are interested in literature this will surely give you an idea of how language can be looked at as an extension of you.

Pick it up in case you see it at the book store or click here.

This was a part of Flipkart Book Review Program! Thanks Flipkart for the book.

Senthilkumar R

The Dark Side of Light by Sanil Sachar #Bookreview

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Publisher Rupa Publications India
ISBN-10 8129139766
Number of Pages 200 Pages
Publication Year 2016
Language English
ISBN-13 9788129139764
Binding Hardcover

Sometimes the cover of the book says it all. The photograph on the cover gives you an idea of the title in a way. But the content in this book will leave you in dark for some time.

Travelling through the negative mind as we have known or being portrayed is a genre by itself, but Sanil Sachar takes it to a whole new level. Sometimes I think how he has been able to think through the thought of the thought.

The climax that he weaves at the end of the story is a sheer brilliance in prose and in such short captivating mastery of language and narration, he holds the attention span till the end of ever story.

That darkness can be celebrated is not often that you come across, but herein lies the trick and ofcourse you will sometimes think how it could be possible to be thinking exactly like the character you just met.

The best part is his taking us through the stories, the poetic prose and the real poetry with ease and keeping you mesmerized till you put the book down.

There are stories and there are poems that characterizes darkness explained like never before. The author / poet in Sanil Sachar seems to be at ease navigating the dark and traverses seamlessly across the prose and poetry with ease that’s probably only he can take pride in.

The words in poetry and prose leaves you with a visual imagery blended in the darkness of mind’s remotest corner. It would not be an understatement if I said he had a a bit of O Henry’s twist to the tales even thought they were dark. I refrain from using the word negative for the fact that I realised you could have it dark the way the author has woven stories after stories.

I think you take time to read sometimes break and then continue even as you let the words sink in.

Not to mention there are play scripts too to take time off from those serious words.

So that’s the book for you, pick it up for listening to some voices you thought would never speak or you would want to hear.

Now that you think you should take a read go over here to buy the book.

Senthilkumar

This is a part of Flipkart Book Review Program, and thanks Flipkart for sending the book.

River of Flesh and other stories – Book Review

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Publisher Speaking Tiger
ISBN-10 9385755587
Edition 1
Number of Pages 272 Pages
Publication Year 2016
Language English
ISBN-13 9789385755583
Binding Paperback

When I got a mail from Vivek Flipkart on two different books for review, it appealed to me in a way that this has got to be different probably, changing the way I would start looking at society.

I replied stating this must be a different perspective given the topic and how they have been seen in the way the society draws a line. So when the Sunny Leone interview happened the same time, it showed how deep those lines run in our mind rather than on the roads where these unprivileged women make the ends meet.

And to put together some of the most acclaimed writers in a collection must have been a task and getting to the topic on hand must have been a great decision by itself. I see this as a big and bold step simply because that was what ultimately got me to read this book. And the editor Ruchira Gupta has done a fabulous job on this front.

And when you read those stories you get to read those innocence writ on their lives and how those innocence has been tarnished and trampled to a state of prostitution.

It took sometime to realise the gravity of the context in each of these stories which come to life with words from some of the classic writers as Kamla Das, Indira Goswami to Mushi Premchand.

Poignant sometimes, rebellious sometimes,  meek and mild and varied the expressions are myriad in more ways than one.

This book also opens up to the regional intricacies and the thoughts that pervade through the countryside. Some the endings are sure to give you goose pumps and some make you sit up and almost have a stuck throat. Quite often the end is a dark twist of fate if you may call that. How would you rationalise the woman going to bed with another man in the darkness to feed a hungry, ailing husband a mouth full of gruel.

The characters will live with you for sometime and sometimes you will feel the bitterness of the words. I am amazed by the fact that some of the works are recreated in the sense translated and I could sense the emotion when I could connect with the original language and the author. (eg. Ponnagaram)

It’s not just the woman’s plight that is portrayed here but the whole of the society which gets the whiplashes from the authors through the characters.

Pick this book and you will be led to a neighborhood you didn’t want to walk through. Gripping stories narrated so intensely and with appeal that makes you think.

Check out and buy the book here

Senthilkumar