Sunday, 7 August 2016

The Story of A Suicide by Sriram Ayer: Book Review




"Adida avala, vetra avala...." (Translation: Beat her, kill her) is a popular Tamil movie number starring Dhanush. Recently, I heard a 5-year old boy singing this song to his play mates at our children's park against a little girl because she wouldn't give way for them to play in the sand.

Imagine these little children growing up imbibing such attitudes from films and observing other male relations in their families. 'When a woman doesn't comply to his wish, hurt her' is what is seeded in their minds which becomes the reason behind several acid attacks, rape, murder cases and stalking. 

And this is in fact happened in the Swathi murder case recently in Chennai!

Sometimes I analyze to myself why someone would indulge in rape. I feel that it's not the sexual desire, in most cases. It is the need to show their male supremacy over a female ego and body. This need might have piled up in them for several years and one day they bring it out on a known or a stranger woman.

I was reminded of this fact while reading 'The Story of a Suicide' by Sriram Ayer. In brief, this is an open book for public reading intended to raise awareness on depression and suicide among youngsters. It's framed as a novel, focusing on a handful of characters with Sam, Charu, Mani and Hari taking the lead roles.

Rejection

The character of Sam is frustrated after his girlfriend, Priya walks away. While, Priya's action can be justified by Sam ignoring her by indulging in gadgets and tweeting with his friends during their meet-ups and thereby failing to provide a loving companionship to her, Sam on the other side feels rejected and cheated. When he feels the rejection with the next girl, Charu, he anonymously invades her privacy, making her feel threatened and shaming her womanhood.

Behind the lust Sam feels towards Charu, there is a subtle love that he expects her to reciprocate. He feels good when she urges him to take care of her. Though he gradually becomes the bad guy in the plot, I felt that, to begin with, he wasn't bad. He likes Charu and does take interest in her affairs in the chapter 'Will you protect me'. He doesn't deserve what Charu does to him, leaving him high and dry.

I felt Sam's family or childhood background, if mentioned, could have backed the understanding of his psyche a little more.

Sam's character is typical of teenage boys. They get desperate to allure a girl. It becomes as though it is a do-or-die challenge to them. Once the girl reciprocates, they want to possess her and in the process fail to deserve the love they initially carried. They find it difficult to understand the girl's thoughts and gradually, the relationship doesn't work in their favour.

Anguish

The character of Charu leaves the most rigorous impact in the book. She hates men, not all of them, but those who look at women as a pleasure material. Though the background behind her attitude isn't clear, the expression of her emotions is awe-inspiring. In the chapter, 'The Facebook Post', she writes an open letter.
Dear Penis,
Alright, here goes my story. Who am I?
I am the vagina you have been desperate to get into.
Hairy and the audacious one.
.
.
For all of you, it is just about the conquest, once we let you in, you lock us up as a trophy, put it on display for your tribe to applaud your achievement and then move on to the next hunt.
.
.
You know what; I would want to love any person I like. I love because I can, irrespective of whether the other person can reciprocate or not. I like to be loved. I want to fall in love completely and unconditionally, and as the relationship fades which it will, I’ll quickly move away without becoming baggage. I might want to make love to men, not because they have a damn penis, but because they are more than a stupid lump of muscles, bones and nerves… That their words speak the truth of the heart… That their lives are bigger than the digging of vaginas. When they can be kind to a child on the street and at the same time hold their ground even when speaking the truth might spoil their chances in life.
I am immensely glad that a male author could put himself in a woman's shoes to have come up with this fierce piece of writing. When woman's equality and freedom are talked about, it's not about the reservation in buses and trains, it's not about woman being recruited in army and navy. It's about preserving the feeling of security in her; that she need not be afraid of being the way she likes to. I am afraid, this is largely missing in our culture. On the so-called damn Indian tradition of protecting girls, we have paradoxically made them more vulnerable to insecurities, over centuries.

It made me think if Charu is right or wrong. Honestly, I don't have an answer. After all, I have been bred on the same soil as others. And in spite of an intuitive agreement to her thoughts, I am still unable to take her side. But this might be a beginning for many, as it was for me. Perhaps, we need more Charus!

Vulnerability

One of my childhood friends confided one day that a neighbour boy tried to play with her vagina when she was about eleven years old. The following year, when she attained puberty, she was scared for some unknown reason and wept for days together, locking herself in a room. She felt insecured about the physiologically mature girl in her. And she couldn't speak about the earlier incident to anyone. One of my classmates who had lost her mother at a young age and brought up by her aunt disclosed how her aunt's son would touch her private parts in the night when all else are asleep. She felt ashamed to talk about this to anyone. Another close relative revealed how once he was raped from the back by his older cousin in childhood. He broke down after recalling the incident, something none could have expected out of him.

When I read such incidents in the newspapers, I thought this is a rarity. But after hearing such stories from my close circle of people, I am more than convinced that it is happening secretly all around us. The character Hari in the book, The Story of a Suicide is brutally abused by his uncle as a child. This part of the narration moved me. In the chapter 'I Love You', Hari recalls:
“I stood nervously behind the toilet doors while I could hear HIM talking to another man.......I could hear their footsteps louder. My body was trembling. I didn’t know why. I had kind of gotten use to HIM inside me."
In spite of living away from his uncle in the present and knowing that he wouldn't disturb him anymore, Hari feels insecure and weak. He is dismayed that his mother didn't listen to him; he is scared of the past, the pain and he is anguished at his own helplessness.

I read the book, A Silent Scream by Siddharth Garg, last year. It was the first time I came in close quarters to the issue of child sex abuse. Ever since, I take much care about children around me, known or unknown. For the second time, this issue has bothered me from my depths with Hari's story.

Shame

Adding to his misery, Hari is afraid of disclosing his sexual orientation, especially to his family. On one side, he feels shameful to have developed the feelings of a homosexual but on the other side he is unable to avoid getting attracted to men, something that happens within him naturally.

I have never met or read about a homosexual before. For the first time, I could understand this subject from an unbiased perspective. In the chapter, 'I Love You', Hari and Mani exchange their feelings of love for the first time:
As soon as he heard Mani’s affirmative reply; Hari kissed him hard on his lips. Mani was taken up by surprise but did not push him away.
Hari hugged him tighter.
Mani could hear Hari’s racing heartbeats very distinctly.
“What is happening?" he wondered anxiously, “But I don’t feel bad about this."

“Actually I like his body around me. Am I in love with him? Is it normal?" his mind screen flickered with conflicting thoughts.
Hari was not talking, he continued to sniffle. He was just wearing a brief while his arms and legs were wrapped around Mani.
Mani took Hari’s face in both his hands, looked at his sullen eyes, “I missed you today; I think I am in love with you. I don’t know if this is right, but whatever happens I will be there for you. You have gone through hell as a child and you can always count on me," and kissed him on his lips.
Depression

Though title of the book suggests that the book is on suicide, the plot isn't actually wound around suicide. Except for one brief incident, none thinks about killing themselves in the book. However, long-pent up emotions, all of a sudden, burst opens to one of the characters when he is faced with a terrible betrayal from the one he loves; when he is put to shame publicly and when finally his parent feels undeserving of him. That's the point where he falls apart and decides in a moment's time that he shouldn't live any longer.

"Could something have been done to prevent this suicide?"
That is the question the book aims to answer through the story of this suicide. Not just about this suicide, but in general, suicides of youngsters around us. 

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Let me begin from where I started:

What are entertainment and family seeding in children?

One-side love happens. Betrayal and break-ups happen. But a few young boys instead of overcoming this emotional struggle, get drowned in their anguish towards the girl. In their high 'spirited' state, they get inspired and sync in with all the 'soup boys' songs. "Adida aval, vetra avala...." repeats on their mental screen.

And what did their family teach them? Diwali, Pongal, Independence Day.....on all holidays, the man of the house can relaxe with the TV shows while the woman is in charge of the elaborate meals of the day. Children begin to accept that women 'must comply' to what the man demands. They are hardly taught that women exist as independent beings with independent choices.

Such boys turn into Sam!

What becomes of the girl child who watches this drama since childhood?

She becomes Charu! 

Girl children, as they grow up, slowly begin to think about the differences in the way their mothers and fathers live. They understand what their mothers went through is not right. They become afraid that it might continue with their own lives. When this fear invades, they become Charus in the process of defending themselves. Charu's father running away with another woman could have shaped her into what she is.

When it comes to relationship, for a woman, love and sex are two different things. I can hug and kiss a man without feeling sexual. But men are lesser-abled to segregate the two. This often frustrates a woman. When she expresses this frustration through outward rejection without a verbal explanation, it hurts the ego of the man. The man now feels the instinct to take control of the woman either physically or by burdening her to do service to him. Woman of the past became submissive to this control. However, young girls of today rebel and the cycle of love, rejection, frustration, hurt and control continues.

Without explanation, it goes what of their backgrounds push the characters of Hari and Mani into difficulties.

To parents of little children:
As adults, we need a serious re-thinking of our attitudes only which can shape children as well as youngsters. In order to correct them or help them from life struggles, we need to, first of all, undo our upbringing a little to redefine certain values according to today's pace. Here are a few:
Demonstrate values of equality in your relationship with your spouse. That needs a change within you, to begin with. 
Let the rules be the same for sons and daughters. Like how you instruct your daughter to put her frock down when it slips up, make sure you instruct your son to pull up his pants if it slips down. It requires you to understand that shame isn't a girl factor alone. 
Don't categorize male and female chores at home. Let the man of the house do the cooking some days. Let the woman drive the car some days.

To parents of teenagers: 
Don't neglect your teenagers
In a nuclear family which is most common today, teenagers can spend time only either with their parents or their siblings. The availability of their parents' time is crucial until they begin to live independently. Spending time isn't existing in the same room with each one busy with an individual gadget in their hands. There might be something the mother wants to share with the family. There might be something the teenager wants to discuss with his parents. Let there be space within the relationships at home. When your teenagers are in a mind set to speak with you, listen to them. That's the best route to understand what's happening in their minds. Most importantly, when your youngster is feeling hesitant to talk about something, probe without force. Be aware it could alarm something important.  
Don't scream at their problems
As a parent, if you know that your son or daughter is going through a break-up or other psychological battle, you might tend to feel worries which may result in showing your anger towards them. "Stop crying", "Don't be sad always, it's irritating", "Don't crib in front of me, I am bored of your stories" are the worst statements you can make to them.
Keep a close watch of them without intruding their privacy
You don't need to check what they tweet or post on Facebook on a daily basis. But observe how they appear when they come back home. A mother can definitely identify if the children are disturbed of something. Be sensible not to bombard them with immediate embarrassing questions. They are most likely to shout at you before deciding not to speak with you again. Wait for the right time to casually enquire about what you feel. If you don't get a clue, don't ignore. Find other sensible ways. 

To youngsters: 
As a teenager, what to do if you feel rejected, guilty, shameful, frustrated or depressed?
Take the guidance of your parents. Initially, it might be embarrassing to involve your parents into your problems. But believe that they care the best for you. If after repeated trials, your parents don't seem to be concerned, speak to a close acquaintance or a professional counselor. 
Make yourself and your problems visible to the right people. It might seem good to keep them secretive. You might be afraid of being judged or looked down upon. But keeping it closed will not fetch you help. 
Coming out of an intense struggle takes time. Give time for things to settle down. Don't come to a hasty conclusion within a short time period.

Title: The Story of A Suicide
Author: Sriram Ayer
Illustrations: Ghana
Publisher: Self-published
Chapters: 31


Author Connect





Read Online



About the Book

"The Story of a Suicide" by Sriram Ayer is a young, stay-up-all-night and tell-all-your-friends novel, which grippingly tells the stories of Hari, Charu, Sam and Mani, whose lives are interconnected in a web of love, passion, revenge and deceit.

Today's youngsters are expressive, self-absorbed, independent, afraid, hurried, fearless, fame hungry, but surprisingly resilient. In a world that makes unreasonable demands on them, many are disillusioned about their education, relationships, jobs, sexuality, bullying, and abuse. In the backdrop of a powerful story and visuals, this project aims to reach out to young people, by verbalising their struggles through the story, informing the do's and don'ts when they face challenges, and providing a platform to share their experiences.

Reading the novel is simple. Click the top menu for a list of chapters or follow the link at the bottom of the page. The site is mobile responsive, so you can read it on your laptop, tablet or mobile phone. You can also listen to the novel by clicking on the play button under the Audio book. Each chapter has a set of "How do I?" on various issues.

About the Author

Sriram is a writer, social entrepreneur and compulsive dreamer. He founded NalandaWay Foundation, which works with children from the most exploitative situations in India, helping them using the creative power of arts, to become creative, learn life-skills, build self-confidence and succeed in schools. Named by the Outlook Business magazine as one of the top 50 social entrepreneurs in India, he has received numerous awards, including the World Bank’s South Asia development marketplace award, 'Architect of the Future' by Waldzell Institute, Austria, Ashoka Fellowship and more recently the Millennium Award instituted by US AID, Govt. of India, UK AID and FICCI.


Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Tantric Curse by Anupama Garg: Book Review




This review is also published at my Personal Blog, Pages from Serendipity.

I could not have written this review on a better day for it's Gurupurnima tonight!

As the cover image and book title reveals, the tantric curse is about tantra, one of the spiritual  practices originating from India. The word 'Tantra' is most often associated with the fear of an unknown realm of mysticism. Another common mis-association with tantric rituals is sex. 

Author Anupama, a tantric herself, writes with deliberate sincerity the reality behind the concept, practices and rituals of tantra, in her debut fiction, the tantric curse. At the end of the book, one can certainly attain a clarity on the subject, not by enforcement or judgement but by acceptance of the truthfulness in the author's words.

Irrespective of whether a reader has an inclination towards tantra or not, this book can offer profound knowledge about the basics of spirituality. 

Sunday, 5 June 2016

‘After the Floods’ – An Anthology of Short Stories by The Chennai Bloggers Club available @Chennai Book Fair (7th – 13th June)

Image Credit: Crazy Studios


The much-awaited anthology of short stories by the Chennai Bloggers Club (details below) will be available at the Chennai Book Fair from the 7th – 13th June, 2016.
Please visit stall by Sixth Sense Publications (Nos. 350, 351, 442, 443) to buy your copy.
Contact: Mr. V. Pandian - 7200050073/ Mr. R. Murugan - 7200073076
Venue: Island Grounds, Chennai




Below is the layout of the Chennai Book Fair, 2016. 
Stalls 350, 351, 442 and 443 where the book is available for purchase, are highlighted in red. 

Courtesy: http://bapasi.com/

Authored by Members of The Chennai Bloggers Club


Edited by Mahesh Lakshmanan
Book Cover Design by Kishor LN
The trials, emotions and triumph of the city of Chennai, stirred by the 2015 floods, have been thoughtfully manifested into an anthology of short stories by The Chennai Bloggers Club (CBC). ‘After the Floods’ , available at the Chennai Book Fair from 7th - 13th June, 2016, is authored by twenty bloggers of CBC who have earnestly brought out the voice of Chennai in their stories. Written in diverse genres, the anthology is certain to delight readers of various interests. While the book is awaiting its release, next month, I request all of you to watch out for updates about the release or bookmark this page for updates.
Did I miss to mention that I am one among the 20 authors?! Yeah, I feel excited to be a part of this and glad, for this will be my third short story publication.

About the Book

In late November 2015, Chennai was hit by rains of unprecedented proportions. Even before the rain waters could drain away properly, December saw severe rains caused by a cyclone. The streets were flooded and thousands lost their homes and livelihoods. Chennai picked herself up and inspired the world around her.

The Chennai Bloggers Club (CBC) is bringing out this anthology of short stories inspired by the floods. Each story has been penned by a different blogger from CBC. The tales have just one core message – “We shall overcome and stand united as a city that cares for itself.”

Authors

Sai Sriram Pavithraa Swaminathan Nandhini Chandrasekaran Meera Shivashankar Dhivya Balaji Kavipriya Moorthy Sowmya S Sundaram Lakshmi Venkatraman Salesh Dipak Fernando Madhvi Kumar Karthik Pasupathy Umasree Raghunath Srilakshmi Indrasenan Asha Sunil Sai Shyam Kishor Lakshminarayanan Clement Williams Sriram Acharya Destination Infinity Gayathri LakshimarayananDeepanarayanan & Mahendran Meera Rajagopalan Bragadeesh Prasanna

(This post was originally published in my personal blog, Pages from Serendipity)

Saturday, 21 May 2016

300 Days by Bragadeesh Prasanna

300 Days is a simple love story of Jai and Sravani. While Sravani is struggling within a confined relationship with Sai, Jai hopes to win Sravani's love. In contrary to the usual, complicated triangular love stories, 300 days sets off  with a smooth sail between the two main characters. Following cycles of love and separation, whether Jai finally wins her love is the rest of the story. 

The book stands out in realistically depicting the emotions beneath seven gradual stages of love as enumerated in Arabic literature, namely,
Hub - Attraction
Uns - Infatuation
Ishq - Love
Aqeedat - Reverence
Ibaadat - Worship
Junoon - Obsession
Maut - Death

(Though the course of the novel is subtitled according to the seven stages, one cannot find a brief explanation about the same in the book. However, the author, in his blog, shares his inspiration behind adapting the concept). 

300 Days is author Bragadeesh Prasanna's first book. As a debut author, he has proved his stand as a writer and as an earnest narrator. 


Jai and Sravani meet during a trek. Without much magical drama, their story begins in the backdrop of the Orkut era. As a subtle emotional bond connects them through text messages and late night calls, Sravani's difficult relationship with Sai gradually unfolds in the novel, leaving a temporary crisis in Jai's and Sravani's lives. A few of Jai's long-time acquaintances and their love lives fill the space before the revival of the main love story. The end is certainly an unexpected one, though the character of Jai shall leave a respectful mark in the readers' minds. 

Watch the Book video trailer


300 Days is not a tale of a teen love. Said that the maturity and seriousness of relationships are well-carried from page one. Little gestures that speak of how a relationship between a boy and girl develops and how their dependency gradually becomes an obsession are expressed beautifully. As the relationship reaches a much serious stage, the dilemmas, frustrations and void that matters of love carry are brought-out well too. Readers who are going through or have experienced similar emotions might find delving into Jai's psyche interesting. Most notably, this book can give insights into when love can be chased and when the chase needs to be withdrawn. 

However, what the book lacks seriously is a well-defined plot. At one point in the reading, the book loses the significance of the story-line, making it more like a personal journal of the protagonist rather than a novel. Though the narration started off well, the detailed chat messages and voice calls having extended for long stretches make a few chapters a mundane reading. The only grip factor that sustains reading is the curiosity of the climax while most of the in-between parts failed to elicit reading anticipation. 

Almost most part of the narration is in the form of dialogues and author Bragadeesh's ease of dialogue writing is admirable. The effortless and charming writing style makes the flow unstoppable. Beyond all other remarks, the narration deserves an honour for the warmth and honesty in it!

A few excerpts from the book:

"Hello" I said with a trembling voice......I had lived in the vain hope of this moment since almost a year.....I didn't jump in joy or run around my office building screaming my lungs out. I just laughed. I laughed like I had just seen the world for first time. 
"All of us have some unanswered questions, right? When something happens to us with no explanation we keep wondering for the rest of our lives. we dream of an apology or an explanation from the person who did it to us."
For a debut work, 300 Days is notable!


Title: 300 Days
Author: Bragadeesh Prasanna
Publisher: Self-published
Pages: 402


Author Connect







Buy Online



About the Book

300 Days follows the life of protagonist Jai and his relationship with Sravani, who is from a different culture. He gets to spend only 300 days with her while crossing all the seven stages of love. Can love transcend cultures, age barriers, distance and language? Will Jai be able to cross all the barriers while in a long distance relationship with Sravani?


Saturday, 23 April 2016

A Tribute to my Memorable Classical Authors on World Book Day

I must have been eleven years old when I read a full-length novel, for the first time. I remember it was on of those Secret Seven series by Enid Blyton. Though others of my age had a craze on Famous Five, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys, I regarded Secret Seven closer to my heart. In the years that followed, Agatha Christie's were my second memorable collection of fiction. 

I wonder how rich my dad should have been to have taken me to Nungambakam Landmark and Mount Road Higginbothams every weekend in the 1980s! Ages eleven to seventeen were when I have skipped food, remained awake through nights and talked insanely about the crush I had for a few of the characters. However, until recently, I didn't know Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie were women. Yes, I assumed them to be male authors all along. 

For all the memorable moments of imagination, such authors have blessed me in my formative years, I dedicate this post on World Book Day, by bringing up their faces for readers like me who often overlooked the person who held the pen behind our childhood reads. 


Enid Blyton


My very first reads were your's. I owe everything I know and feel about books to you!



Agatha Christie


Even now, sometimes I plot a murder tale in my mind when I am doing nothing and lost in thoughts. When I come back to my senses, I laugh at myself of how a writer I read in my childhood continues to inspire me after years. 



Charles Dickens


We were in class XI, the first year of schooling when a Non-detail section for English language was introduced. Oliver Twist was the first tale our class read together for a year long. Hugely memorable! I remember the times when a classmate cried when Oliver was beaten for asking more porridge and the whole class observing mourning when Nancy, our favourite character, passed away. 



Emily Bronte


How did you create history with a single novel?!!! I don't exactly remember the story of Wuthering Heights today, but the sadness that I felt for Catharine is still deep within me. 



R.K.Narayan


I am not going to tell you that I remember you for reading Malgudi Days. I am here today to confess that I've missed to read your books inspite of hearing the legendary tales about your writing since childhood. 


Glad to have shared my recollection of the authors who I've heard most during my childhood on World Book Day. Will be interesting to know similar childhood book memories from all of you. 

Friday, 22 April 2016

Releasing on 1st May, 2016: The Wedding Photographer By Sakshama Puri Dhariwal



Do you love Bollywood? 

Do you love romantic comedies? 

Do you love books? 

Then this one's for you! 



Presenting Sakshama Puri Dhariwal's debut novel
'The Wedding Photographer', releasing this May.


A delicious, Breezy novel full of Fun, Sass, Heart and Wit

Penguin Books India presents

THE WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER
By
Sakshama Puri Dhariwal


  
A fantastic debut with wedding, love, photography, scandal and cricket – a perfect summer read!

Sunday, 14 February 2016

Songs of the Mist: Volume 1 (The Monk Key Series) by Shashi


How often do we hear people fret about stressful life situations! So were the characters of the Songs of the Mist, to begin with. However, how often do we hear such people making a journey towards the Himalayas, the abode of self-realization? That's where our characters make a difference.

If you are in the process of finding  a book written with practical wisdom to aid your spiritual quests, be sure you've already reached the first step in your quest. Songs of the mist shall clear the initial mental anxieties that a seeker faces, shall make one feel consoled that after all, there are several others who are struggling with similar uncertainties of life. 

Songs of the Mist: Volume I is the first of the three-part Monk Key series. 

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Just You, Me and a Secret by Ganga Bharani Vasudevan: Book Review



Just You, Me and a Secret marks a history in my book reading experience for two reasons: This is the first complete book I've read in the digital format through Amazon Kindle Unlimited. And the first book I've read without taking a break because I just couldn't. 
Just You, Me and a Secret is a psychological romantic thriller in which the protagonist, after losing her memory in an accident, tries to regain her lost identity. Shuttling in between whether to trust or not the stories told by people around her, she finally arrives at a point where she understands what has been done to her while she remained unconscious. 

Author Ganga Bharani, as a debutante, has proved to the literary world, "Man, I have a great plot and I can write in flawless English. That was all it required to write a fantastic book."

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Ramayana: The Game of Life - Book 3 - Stolen Hope by Shubha Vilas: Book Review

As the reading continues, the deer on the footnote on the page continues to move as well, walking, running, leaping and finally gets attacked by an arrow on the last page. Sometimes, I could relate the state of the deer to the intensity of my absorption into the book. And on the last page, I felt disappointed, like the wounded deer, that the book and mostly, my learning had to come to an end. 

Re-telling Ramayana was a part of the author's intention. Yes, only a part! And the rest was imparting wisdom to the readers about significant nuances of our everyday lives. As a spiritual seeker, it has come naturally to Author Shubha Vilas.

Ramayana: The Game of Life - Stolen Hope is the third of the six Ramayana series by the author. 

Monday, 25 January 2016

KLASS by Prita Yadav: Book Review


KLASS is a sports school in Pune where our protagonist, Jolene Jordan, is forced to join, by her father. Jo is determined to behave as bad as she could at her new school, hoping she will be soon expelled by the school authorities. However, the events that follow bring unexpected turns in her life and the book temporarily ends at the end of the first year of her schooling, making the readers curious for the next in the KLASS series. 

Halfway through the book, without the reader’s realization, she/he would be watching a vivid movie about KLASS. The narration is so full of life that the reading experience surpasses beyond words to render an in-depth visualization of the scenes. Friendship, rivalry, hatred, love, passion – human emotions have been well-placed throughout the plot. 

Most part of the book is in the form of conversation between the n number of characters of students and teachers at KLASS. Yet, each character is marked as a unique personality. And that’s where author Prita stands out as an extraordinary debut author. 

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Nandhini's Book Reviews: 2015


Nandhini's Book Reviews completes 2 years. Amidst running behind a toddler, I am surprised that could review 25 books this year. When I look back, I don't even remember a day when I sat for more than an hour at one place with a book :) 

My heart-felt thanks to all the authors and publishers who reached out to me for reviewing this year. Every time I receive a book for review, I admire the perseverance and efforts that the authors must have poured in for their work to get published. As always, I cherished receiving free books and connecting with authors about their writing experiences. And as always, it was fascinating to realize how modest many were in re-telling their mighty tales. 

Here's a quick look into Nandhini's Book Reviews in 2015:


Book Genres of 2015


Mythological fiction has been creating a revolution among book genres in India, in the last few years. Though it demands time, I love getting deeply involved in a different period of time. I reviewed three from this genre in 2015:


I am grateful to these authors because many of us could get enlightened about a rich and fascinating past. The Curse of Brahma was a well-written and captivating fiction about the happenings before Lord Krishna's birth. The Rigveda Code was a fast-paced and interesting read about what happens years after Lord Krishna's demise. The Guardians of the Halahala surpassed all of the books I've read in this genre. 

Apart from Santosh Avvanavar books, other reviewed books that were based on societal themes and social causes were: 

Both were touchingly written and true eye openers. The Bride of Amman was a realistic fiction of how women and homosexuals are treated in the orthodox society of Jordan. The Silent Scream had my heart sink with a child sex abuse tale that keeps happening all around us but hardly gets a rescue. 

The women-centric books reviewed in 2015 were:

There's Something About You is not exactly women-centric but of a bold girls's story. The Other End of the Corridor is a story of an ordinary housewife who faces domestic abuse by her husband but finally manages to prove her self-worth. Unravelling Anjali is an interesting fiction of a new NRI bride, of she adapts to an unloving married life in Australia. Finding Ecstasy is discussed below under Memoirs.

A new genre I tried in 2015 was poetry collection. I wasn't a great fan of poetry earlier but Night Sky Between The Stars by Usha Kishore impressed me enough to become one. It speaks of Indian womanhood and how masculine supremacy has written the fate of Indian society.  
The Inscrutable Mulla Nasrudin Episodes by Jyothirllata Girija was another I reviewed in the same genre. It was a nice and witty poetry collection.

Another sort of new genre was text collection. I was in awe for Our Heritage Revisited by Anju Saha for her brief compilation of huge volumes of ancient Hindu texts.

Memoirs was yet another new genre in 2015. Finding Ecstasy by Rebecca Pillsbury  was about a woman who grows up with guilt and fear of sexuality and gradually wins her negativity and emotions. Grey & White Day Scholar by Raj Sekar was a good memoir of a middle-age man who goes back to his school to reconnect with his childhood friends.
The Prism of Life by Ansh Das was the only self-help/Spirituality book I reviewed in 2015. It was worth spending time in this short and quick read.

Favourite Book and Author of 2015



My favourite book of 2015 was Blame it on Destiny by Soorina Desai and of course, author Soorina Desai becomes my favourite author as well, not only for her stunning narrating style but also for her personal touch in connecting with a reviewer of her book. Blame it on Destiny was a breath-taking fiction with an intricately-woven plot. It shall forever stand out apart in my book shelf!

Most-reviewed Author of 2015



I need to make a special mention of author Santosh Avvanavar for I reviewed 8 of his books in 2015:

Most were simple short stories that addressed a social problem in the country. Though light and quick reads, I respect the meaning and depth of the subjects in all his books.


What was unique about book reviewing in 2015?



I am not much of a book tour participant. For the first time, I signed up with b00k r3vi3w Tours and Indi Book Reviews in 2015. 

I am glad that my review of Night Sky Between The Stars by Usha Kishore could make to the December 2015 edition of Tajmahal Book Review Journal.

And book editing opportunities from two publishers were memorable of 2015!