Book Title: Airport Kabul: A Country Under Siege A Family On The Run
Author: Anuj Tikku
Anuj Tikku is one of those story writers who stands in the first place of realistic urban writers. I say this because his stories are short in length but deal with reality. The recent book I read of his was about the COVID pandemic related story.
This book, Airport Kabul, made all those troubles the citizens of Afghanistan have been facing during the last few months. The effect of International politics on ordinary people is hard to digest. There have been numerous scenes that questioned humanity that is being telecasted in the news and media. My heart bled looking at those helpless people that made every one of us clueless.
In this context, Anuj Tikku’s story is about an Afghan family who tries hard to flee from the country during the ongoing crisis. Though there are few grammatical errors, the emotional quotient is the saviour. This is a quick and nice read.
Book Title: In Loving Memory
Author: Daniel Paul Singh
The contemporary romance genre is one such genre that can be explored in many dimensions because of its evasive yet ever interesting. In this connection, Author Daniel Paul Singh with a genre crossover gave this generation of readers an exciting fictional story that is rich in narration, characters and characterisation.
Talking about the book, ‘ In Loving Memory ‘, is a combination of two stories running in parallel that come under two different genres but the main plot-line being ‘ love ‘. The book has several characters, but each has its own spectrum, scope and space. The book runs along with the characters of Dhruv, Nisha, Nivas, Rimi, and Kevin. Each of the characters deals excellently with the challenges and situations life brings. Written in simple and accessible language, the third person narration makes the story more readable.
The book has two parallel stories. The first one deals with Dhruv and Nisha as colleagues, but they are at the cold war most of the time because of Dhruv’s erratic behaviour. As time flies, both of them work at the same place. And while Nisha is initially irked by Dhruv’s impulsive antics, the two gradually fall in love. But, life is not always a bed of roses. On the other side, Srinivas falls in love with his childhood friend, Rimi. She is a bubbly, vibrant and strong female. Fate doesn’t spare either of the couples. As they fight for their fate, an unexpected murder adds the spice.
Unfolding the murder case with these couples lives intertwined in their own fate is what the story is about. To all the mystery lovers, this book is a definite treat.
Book Title: Life in Quotes
Author: Sri Ramana Pemmaraju
Quotations or quotes are commonly used expressions to depict some feelings and expressions. It may be the values one has to imbibe or principles to follow a good life or even motivational words that help an individual grow!
What does it make a book engaging? The content. Be it fiction or non-fiction, all it matters is the content inside the book. This book by Sri Ramana has more than 350+ quotes and little musings. All quotes are written in simple language, with ease in reading and many values attached to every quote. Every quote is taken from life. The liners used in the book are not only just expressions but great lessons. The quotes range from emotions, feelings, memories, passion and many more.
This is one of the books that have a unique quality. For every quote, there is a space below to make notes. This enables a reader to create an inclusive feeling of reading and engage oneself to explore more inwards.
Though the book cover is simple, every page’s font and working space will remain a favourite. This book is by Notion Press, and I always feel glad to read books from them for the paper quality. This book also has one of the honest acknowledgements sections where the author has poured in his heart with thankfulness and gratitude to all the people who supported him. The book also has an ending section that mentions the author’s digital footprint that helps readers reach him effortlessly.
With a unique style of depicting life situations in quotes, this book is an honest attempt to help an individual reinforce their values and strength. I recommend this book to everyone!
Sri Lankan Novelist bags Golden Aster Book, World Literary Award
One of the most reviewed books of Sri Lankan authors in India, BAYAN by Pramudith D. Rupasinghe awarded top Italian literary award
August 2021, Santa Marinella, South Asian Author Pramudith D. Rupasinghe has been awarded the prestigious Golden Aster Book, World Literary Award 2020 for “BAYAN”, his mellow work of historical fiction set in the Ukraine following the dissolution of the Soviet Union. Bayan follows the life of a delightfully bizarre and sagely protagonist named Ivan Nikolayevich into his old age, through memories, emotions and self-discovery. The word Bayan actually refers to a Ukrainian wind instrument like an accordion which demands a considerable strength and dexterity to manage, and complements the strength, resilience and joie de vivre of its owner. This writing is deep and meaningful and its philosophy takes time to sink deeply in.
The “Golden Aster Book” world literary prize was instituted to highlight both famous and emerging writers and poets from all over the world. Awardees are selected from French, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and English language writers. Others acclaimed writers in this year’s shortlist included French writer Colette Mourey, Italian writers Mario Filocca, Gina Scanzani, and Salvatore Maiorana and Spanish writer Claudia Gioron Bermudez.
Pramudith who is from Sri Lanka has combined his career as a humanitarian diplomat working in many parts of the world, with his passion for the art of cross cultural storytelling to bring a number of his works to the international reader, including Footprints in Obscurity, Behind the Eclipse and Bayan. In Bayan for example his interpretation in the English language, of what is essentially deeply Ukrainian/Russian culture and history, through the lens of a South Asian writer has been deemed authentic and relatable to readers of any background. Bayan is wise, profound and atmospheric, a “‘slow-read to be enjoyed with a cup of Chai in a relaxed setting” with a deeply calming psychological impact.
Pramudith’s latest work in the pipeline is,The Girl Who Snatched the Moon, a story of the tireless endeavour in reclaiming the life of a girl fallen to the hands of human traffickers and sold to the world’s largest brothel village Kandapara in Bangladesh. Pramudith continues with his writing, exploring without borders, diverse stories on human resilience giving voice to the voiceless, and making South Asians proud of his contribution to humanity through powerful and meaningful narrative.
Bayan has been translated into Polish, French, German, Sinhala, and Burmese. The Russian, Ukrainian and Hindi translations are to be released soon. The book has also been reviewed by more than a hundred sites and magazines across the world.
Book Name: Bulti’s Adventures in the Dooars
Author: Madhumita Roy
This short story by writer Madhmita Roy is an adventurous tale. As the title suggests, Bulti is the central character of the story. The charm of the story starts from Bulti and Kulfi’s wish to have a great vacation.
Bulti and Kulfi are two ten-year-old girls who lead uncomplicated and straightforward life. Their father, Ashok Babu, is a salaried employee. He is a hardworking person and always vouches for his family’s and especially the girls’ happiness. Often the girls are reminded and poked of their poor economic situation compared to their classmates; even then, the girls compose themselves and reply very courageously.
The story that becomes a suspense thriller shortly after their vacation to the Murti river is fascinating. As I would like to keep my review spoiler-free, I won’t disclose many details about the story but will talk more about the narration, characters, and language.
The story is written in a simple language that is accepted universally. This makes the story readable by everyone. The narration of the story is worth mentioning. Every page gives the readers a new thing to read and experience. The happening in the resort is very exciting to read. There are many things that writer Madhumita Roy explained subtly. Mental health, greed, betrayal, intelligence, the balance of mind, girl education, etc., are some of such things. Kudos to the writer for having mentioned all these
The suspense, thrill and mystery element is very well maintained. The indentation of the paragraphs is to be taken care of as most readers don’t accept reading huge paragraphs. Other than that, the story flows well. Talking about the characters, though the story starts with fewer characters, as the story progresses, new characters are introduced. One of the appreciable things is that a new character gets introduced at its own pace. This makes reading hassle-free. Apart from all these dynamics, I liked the character names. Every name with their back story is apt.
It is a known fact that small and compact packages often come with lots of happiness and surprises. Thus this story is a great entertainer.
Book Title: Hindu Refugee Camp, Lahore
Author: Sachin Garg
It was in those times when everyone was sleeping, and suddenly there was chaos around every house. The houses were burnt, people were hunted and killed ruthlessly. Cries for help and screams to spare the lives were the only sounds heard. There were gunshots, looting, and slogans against each other ringing in the ears. No god or no divine power helped the people. This was the familiar scene that was witnessed in every place during the India Partition in 1947. As much as people lost their lives, many families were distorted, and people were parted away. Whose fault was it for a newly married couple being parted on either side, a group of friends who grew up together were parted based on their religion, which was never a bothering point?
The above paragraph that I mentioned here is a narrative that flashes in my mind whenever I read any book related to the then days of the partition. Amongst many books that belong to the fiction, non-fiction or memoirs genre, Tamas, Gazing neighbours, and few books in the Telugu language always come to my mind.
During the pandemic time, i.e. from 2020 till date, I have been reading many books written in times of the current situations. Fiction writing is predominantly related to the pandemic, lockdown or mythology or general fiction, including sci-fi. Surprisingly, author Sachin Garg has picked up a story set up after the partition in 1947. This book, Hindu Refugee Camp, Lahore, by author Sachin Garg, talks about two central characters who part their ways without their intervention.
This book is based on a true story that happened once the partition was swing and people lost their places. It is the story of Ghulam Ali, an officer from the Indian army. During those times, the people serving in the army were either to be on this side or that side. Ghulam Ali chose India. Though he chose to stay with India, he was indicted by the Pakistan government, and India denied him citizenship as he is a Muslim. This incident marked Ghulam Ali’s identity loss. After a decade, he was absorbed into the India Refugee camp at Lahore. After he reaches the refugee camp, he starts writing letters to Zahira. Zahira lives in Lucknow, India. Through exchanging letters, Ghulam and Zahira keep sharing and updating themselves with whatever is happening around them. These letters depict the socio-political scenarios on either land.
With a simple yet elegant language and narration, the story constantly progresses with emotion as a limit value. The excitement, apprehension and hope build up as the pages are turned. The locations and the activities in the refugee camp are described clearly. One of the best things in the book other than the story is the first page before the story starts. This gives the readers an idea of what amount of honesty has the author crafted this book. This stands as one of the best books I read in 2021.
Book Name: Reflection: A collection of short stories
Author: Adam Ostaszewski
This book by author Adam Ostaszewski is a collection of six short stories that vary from different themes. Each of the six stories deals with interesting topics of history, politics, environment, science and humanity.
Often readers tend to pick up books that contain a collection of short stories because reading a considerable book becomes tedious for many reasons. The pandemic 2020 has made everyone pick up easy and heartening reads as dystopian attitude has been raving around. The uncertainty about life and its progress made reading also quite challenging. Thinking that this 2021 would be any better was a fundamental misconception. But, one grace thing was that excellent amount books had been published in and around the Indian subcontinent. Many thanks and salute to all the authors and writers who took time putting apart all the apprehensions they faced and yet gave the readers some beautiful books.
At this juncture, Reflection by Adam also made a place in my bookshelf of short story collection books. This book is a work of excellent fiction and imagination. Considering the present situations combined with politics, sci-fi, humanity, and weaving stories by building a new world. Surviving under new conditions and rules is not an as easy task for any person. The concept of democracy shifts to a new model when everything is controlled by a specific agency which less than a totalitarian society and away from people’s government. These kinds of aspects are present in the stories.
The book thus can be coined as a (science) fiction novel having six short stories where each story falls under a different theme. If one story talks about the virus, another talks about planetary travel. If one story talks about cloning, another talks about war and power. The simple yet effective language used in the book also adds beauty. The narration of every story is fascinating and page-turning. The character names in the stories are also interesting.
The story titled – Meeting is my favourite. The character of Erril is so different from any conventional one. The dwarf character reminded me of the Hobbit movie. The scenic explanation of the dark woods, the Inn, the stallions, people, and the atmosphere created in the story is quite appealing. The characters of the story are written beautifully.
This short book of 156 pages with six short stories is a recommended work of fiction.
Book Title: Dare to Live!
Author: Himanshu Bhatia
The year 2020 can be named as the year of uncertainty to the core! There was uncertainty prevailing about the job, food, money, place to live, and life itself! Every statement in this review might end with an exclamation mark because of the honesty and truthfulness that every page in the story showcases life or the recent one, the pandemic times.
Dare to Live! by author Himanshu Bhatia is an interesting reflection of many similar people and their encounters during the hard times. These hard times can be general issues or pandemic times. The story is about Atharv, an IIM graduate working at a CXO level in a Corporate company. His life goes well until he works under Varun. His new boss, Mandira, is a ruthless, strict to the core and disciplines person whose behaviour affects Atharv in every possible manner.
The story opens with Atharv’s heart and mind talking to the readers. The book is almost like the character in live and talking to people holding the book. The attractive narration describes author Himanshu’s writing skills. It is not an easy task to keep the readers engaged and make them travel with every character of the story unless the author’s continuous effort keeps the narration flowing.
The book cover is what attracted me the most. The cover gives an idea of the plot that a woman stomps a male character. If the details are not taken into account, it might look like an ordinary man-woman story, but the cover’s intrinsic information explains the other side of the story. The male and female character’s business attire, the female character’s stilettos and the wave format with a red text stricken down are beautifully conceptualised. I understand the amount of time and thought the author has taken to develop the cover design.
The names of the characters Varun and Atharv and their characterisation are realistic and relatable. Thus, it seems a very close to heart tale. The interesting character, the female boss, Mandira, attracted me the most. The name Mandira is almost acquainted as a ruthless woman through a famous Indian soap opera. I was stricken immediately once I read the name in the book. Though a funny incident, it was again relatable.
Apart from the situations that the author has plotted in the story, which I refrain from putting out here as I want my review to be spoiler-free, the engaging narration is one of the first reasons to pick up this book. This is my second book of the author, and his simple writing and making a situation lively is what I liked in both the books.
Written during the pandemic times and taking into account the live situations during the COVID times and incorporating them in the book make the story realistic. There are many elements where every job holder will see for themselves in the story and travel with Atharv. This is an interesting book with good and acceptable language that is quite entertaining in many ways.
Book Title: Statistical Analysis of a Friend Circle: …and other short stories
Author: Rushil K K
Short stories often reflect many aspects of life, in lesser words. This book by author Rushil is a book of engaging short stories about human emotions. The honest and intriguing writing has attracted my reading appetite very much. This short book has an interesting title.
Who can read?
The stories in the book are for the readers who like to read honest, humane, accessible and happy-go short stories. The content and the storylines are witty, realistic and relatable.
How good are the language and grammar?
Colloquial and easy English language is used in the book, which makes reading a more straightforward task.
How good is the author’s writing style?
The author had an inclusive writing style to bring along the tales, which seem usual and ordinary but written attractively. Some stories mirror the everyday emotions of a human who seem to live life to the fullest.
How entertaining is the book?
This book by author Rushil is a collection of 10+ short stories that deal with the softer and sensible yet sensitive side of human life and emotion. Not every short story book is on the sad side of the radar, but there are few books in which usually the theme is the most talked about amongst the people but are less identified with importance.
Sweet, Delightful and Exciting short stories!
Book Title: The Great Hindu Civilisation: Achievement, Neglect, Bias and the Way Forward
Author: Pavan K Varma
India is a country that is diversified in many ways. Be it the landform, culture, ethnicities, languages, or tradition, it is a perfect mixture of many kinds. With this, it is also unexplainably apt to say that India has had a glorious history too. It is also one of the countries that had a great civilisation. In the pages of history worldwide, India and its heritage are the most talked about things.
Though there is much to talk about and learn from the history, certain aspects like Westernisation and the present trend of some forces acting upon the elements that talk great about the Hindu civilisation are masking the glory. These comments and statements, where some are absolutely true, are discussed in the latest book by Mr. Pavan K Varma’s book, The Great Hindu Civilisation.
Pavan K Varma, an author and a former member of Rajya Sabha, quotes in this book that ‘ the academic elite ‘ of India, now in the present times, have short-changed the Hindu culture and civilisation. As far as things learnt and discussed until today, the first prime minister of India, Pandit Jawahrlal Nehru, is the pioneer of the modern future. But, in this book, author Pavan K Varma opens a new Pandora box of some less discussed points that demystifies certain such beliefs.
In this exciting book, author Pavan K Varma talks about the most famous vocabulary used across the country by certain groups -for example, liberal, secular, etc. But in another way, he opens a new direction to think deeper into why he made such statements. However, the book in this age may create confusion among the readers. This confusion is due to the access to too much information and the less time to access the truths in the minds. One of the chapters mentions the Vijayanagara empire of Krishnadevaraya or the Chola kingdom of the Tamilnadu, which is unknown to the students who hail from the Northern part of the country is truly a topic that must be taught.
In this book, he also mentions that some people force Indian academics to ignore many aspects of India’s past and history. He also points out the fear that Hindu chauvinism and the imposing of the Hindu culture might spurt. But, it is also to be noted that history cannot be forgotten but can be taught in the way it is. Many unseen forces play with these sensitive aspects that try to create unrest. As the saying goes, no one is a saint; though there are some people pointed in this book, there is always the other side of the coin.
All said and done, in this book, as a reader and as an apolitical person and, at the same time, I agree with certain truths and their explanation; some statements are highly blunt and pinpointing towards certain people and leaders. If the book is read with a free and unbiased mind, this is an extensively written, fascinating book. This book is readable with a conclusion that is framed like we need to research our past with greater care and energy — avoiding unscientific assertions — and educate our children about the great Hindu civilisation!
Book Title: THE OWL DELIVERED THE GOOD NEWS ALL NIGHT LONG
Author: Lopamudra Maitra Bajpai
Folktales are a kind of story that gets passed on from generation to generation. This is true in many cases, and this element gave the new age authors the liberty to write their own versions of popular kinds of traditional tales, such as fables and fairy tales. It is also a fact that a folktale does not have a single author. The tale itself takes many versions as the generations pass on. The word folk in the folktale itself answers this. It is also a fact that many folktales are old. For many generations, these tales were told. Most of them are in the brain but not on paper.
As a result, folktales like Arabian nights from the middle east or the Indian folktales that comprise of many animals as the main characters were told aloud long ago in many places but now are written down in books. These folktales talk about many stages and parts of life. They tell about happy times, sorrows, animals, birds, kingdoms, virtues, ethics, heroes and villains. But, every tale tries to teach a lesson or explain something that is difficult to comprehend.
India is a country that runs mostly on farming. Farmers are the real torchbearers of the country. It can also be said that these rural people are also the initiators of the folktales. They used the format to share their emotions and fears. These tales also talk about the natural regime and texture of the land, people and environment. The folktales and folk songs have always been lifting the spirits of tired minds.
In this book, author Lopamudra picked up folktales from every state in India. Every tale in the story is fascinating and interesting. The word folktale need not be just an old-time setting or yesterday’s Kingdom styled one; it can also be today’s! Keeping this in mind, the author has curated beautiful tales of feelings and emotions.
As the book’s synopsis says, the book is comprised of 108 tales from every state in the country. From Jammu and Kashmir in the North to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands in the South, from Dadra and Nagar havens and Daman and Diu in the West to Arunachal Pradesh in the east, and all the other states and Union territories of India in between, here are 108 fabulous folk tales, legends, and stories from more than fifty-seven languages and dialects.
The language used is simple, elegant and with extreme clarity. The book is though a translated one, the narration in every small tale is absolutely dynamic, gripping and exciting. The stories range from love to friendship, to wittiness to real-life and many more such emotions. As the book is written universally, it can be read by readers of any age.
A thoroughly recommended book!
Book Title: Sooley
Author: John Grisham
John Grisham is a celebrated author for many reasons. Most of his books are based on courtroom dramas. During the 90s, US courtroom dramas from him were absolute treats and informative too. It is indeed from his books many scenes related to court, trials, and lawyer firms etc., were introduced to many readers, primarily Indian readers. It is not exaggerating to mention that many young readers dreamt and chose law as a profession by reading his books. His books give the readers information on the law basics, the relationship between law and politics, corporate lifestyle, and its pros and cons in detail. Some other reasons like social and political issues, the ways to tackle them, corruption and crime face of the other side of the country and people also involved reasonably entertain. Most of the web series now that are available that deal with law and spying as subjects were long before introduced in John Grisham’s books.
Coming to his new book that was released in March 2021, Sooley is a pleasant surprise to the readers. Moving away from his usual writing style and weaving the story around court, law and politics, this story is about a person from the African country Sudan and basketball. Being not his pet genre, i.e. the legal thrillers, this book is different. Though he talked about baseball and football in his previous works, this book is quite an attempt.
The story of Sooley is an intertwining between the many tragedies of the African continent, most of Sudan. The civil wars that made masses of people move away from the country, economic crisis and political vendetta that prevails still have taken centre stage in the story. His research and co-relation between African politics and basketball sport are absolutely stunning.
Born into a family that is in the hemisphere of a political environment that does atrocities on its countrymen to stare and die for the oil companies’ existence, Samuel Sooleymon or Sooley, the central character, is a 17-year-old guy who loves basketball. At this juncture, NBA Talent Hunter Ecko Lam scouts various countries for future players, and his encounter with Sooley makes him bring the new talented teenager to the USA. Sooley joins the college and also prepares himself to play.
While this is the story’s plot, on the other side, his family becomes refugees and live in extreme derogated situations. His life in the USA is much more different, and he also is a prospective immigrant of the country! Though Sooley may be John Grisham’s first basketball story, his writing prowess in presenting the readers with entertaining morality stands on top. He often focuses on the issues that are discussed and debated in the national and international media. In this book, readers move between politics and basketball exploits in America and the suffering of citizens in African refugee camps.
The game is also described in detail. But, there are some critic reviews\comments on the book few from the former players, that some points mentioned in the book about the game stand absurd. While shrugging out such comments, as a reader of his works for many years, I recommend this book to every Grisham book lover!