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Showing posts from 2019

Book Review: The Book of Indian Kings - Stories and Essays

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About the Author The Book of Indian Kings comprises stories and essays about some of the greatest rulers and statesmen in the history of India. Beginning with an essay on one of the country’s iconic rulers, the Mauryan emperor, Ashoka, by our greatest living historian, Romila Thapar, this volume brings together some of the finest writers of our time on a glittering array of monarchs, including Salman Rushdie on Emperor Akbar, Khushwant Singh on Maharaja Ranjit Singh, William Dalrymple on Bahadur Shah Zafar, Rajmohan Gandhi on Tipu Sultan, Jadunath Sarkar on Chhatrapati Shivaji, and Manu S. Pillai on Krishnadeva Raya.  Source: Amazon.in The Emergence of Empire: Mauryan India by Romila Thapar The First Hindu Empire by Abraham Eraly Raja Raja Chozhar by Kalki Krishnadeva Raya by Manu S. Pillai The Shelter of the World by Salman Rushdie Shivaji and His Times by Jadunath Sarkar Tipu Sultan by Rajmohan Gandhi The Last Mughal by William Dalrymple Ranjit Singh, Maharaja of the Punj

Behind the Book: Michaelbrent Collings

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Today we have in conversation with us a very interesting author. From winning awards to earning the title of 'Bestseller', he has done it all. Interestingly he also writes across two very contrasting genres and that too effortlessly. The success of his book is a proof enough for the love he garners amongst book lovers. He is none other than, Michaelbrent Collings. Source To give you a brief introduction about him before we start the interview-  Michaelbrent Collings is an American horror novelist. He wrote the screenplays for two horror films: Barricade (2012) and Darkroom (2013). He has self-published many novels, with two of his novels being finalists for the Bram Stoker Award in 2016, and two being finalists for the Whitney Awards in 2014 and 2017. ( Source ) Know more about him: Facebook | Twitter | Website

Book Review: No Illusions in Xanadu by Ruby Gupta

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About the Book When the devilishly handsome, legendary Bollywood superstar Rajvir Kapoor is found dead in the thirtieth-floor study of his swanky new home, Xanadu, the entire country is aghast.  Barely hours before his death, Xanadu, had been teeming with the pick of the country's elite: hot-shot celebrities, business magnates and close friends and family of the iconic actor - all of whom had come together for the grandest party Mumbai had ever seen. Investigations reveal that Rajvir Kapoor was murdered, and now everyone is a suspect. Professor Shantanu Bose, eminent nano-expert and part-time sleuth, a house-guest at the time, is willy-nilly forced to join the investigation. He finds himself in an alien world of the glitterati and their idiosyncrasies, where murky secrets are revealed and facts muddled. As Shantanu struggles to piece together the puzzle amidst the confusing moral codes adopted by the people of this starry realm, glamorous Mumbai seduces him and h

Book Review: Globetrotting for Love and Other Stories from Sakhalin Island by Ajay Kamalakaran

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About the Book: A cleaning lady frustrated with the lack of manners of the occupants of the building sets out to teach them a lesson or two. Philandering ways and addiction to alcohol force a marriage to flounder and the wife to seek divorce. In Sakhalin, the land of opportunities, a girl from the Russian hinterland flits from one man to another before settling down. A group of friends becomes victim to street hooliganism in the capital city of Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk, while a young British girl succumbs to the vile machinations of a local Russian, jealous of her success, leading to her deportation. Tragic fate awaits a Russian girl who leaves her boyfriend for a seaman. Globetrotting for Love and Other Stories from Sakhalin Island is a brutal, yet honest compilation of stories told in a style that not only pounds on the reader’s sensibilities and emotions but claws at the soul. The place is as much a character as the people who inhabit this collection. These are tales of love, lu

Cover Reveal : Saved by Love by Shilpa Suraj

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Cover Reveal : The Mahāsiddha Field by Dwai Lahiri

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Big, Small - The Greatest Odia Stories Ever Told (Selected and translated by Leelawati Mohapatra, Paul St-Pierre, and K. K. Mohapatra)

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ABOUT THE BOOK Image Source: Goodreads.com The Greatest Odia Stories Ever Told showcases Odia’s greatest storytellers ranging from literary masters such as Fakir Mohan Senapati, Gopinath Mohanty, Reba Ray, and Manoj Das to contemporary stalwarts like Pratibha Ray, and Nrusingha Tripathy, among others. A young woman who was dragged away by a crocodile mysteriously resurfaces after a decade in Manoj Das’s ‘Mrs Crocodile’; a pet goat let loose in a government office causes amusement and chaos in Gopinath Mohanty’s ‘The Solution’; Godavaris Mahapatra’s ‘Maguni’s Bullock Cart’ deals with the anxieties of a bullock cart driver stuck between the trappings of traditions and modernity—the stories in this anthology traverse an exciting range of themes from fantasy to reality, and bone-chilling horror to rib-tickling humour. Timeless, evocative and striking, The Greatest Odia Stories Ever Told offers a rich selection of stories that are unrivalled in their range, style and complexit

Milestones - II

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How do you define happiness?

Cover Reveal : The Pearl of Immortality by Nishi Chandermun

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Book Review: A Sweet Deal by Andaleeb Wajid

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About the Book Say hi to Rumana. A freshly minted (baked?) chef who decides to trade her powersuit for chef’s whites to live her dream of owning a cafe. Cut to six months later and there is not too sweet, a gorgeous little cafe with a burgeoning clientele. This is home and heart and everything in between. But Rumana's Banker’s bliss is cut short when competition drives in not only right into her street but parks itself right next door! What the... Enter Daniyal—rock star chef, too good-looking, and annoyingly charming. With him around, Rumana flits between being putty in his hands—giving away a cherished recipe to him when he asks nicely!—and getting mad at herself for her actions. But battle lines get drawn when Daniyal decides to present her recipe to the world with his take on it. Attracted towards the wild-haired Rumana, whose sweet kisses are a complete contradiction to her angry personality, Daniyal has no idea what’s about to hit him. At Daniyal’s Desserts, he can’

New Release: The Treasure Syndicate by Jatin Kuberkar

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HOW FAIROZ AHMAD INTERPRETS THE ‘WIND’

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    Title: Interpreter of Winds  Author: Fairoz Ahmad Publisher: Ethos Books ( 2019) Interpreter of Winds  is a collection of four stories which brings together Fairoz Ahmad’s experiences and observations while growing up as a Muslim. In a world where we are (sadly) divided by religion and united by our bitterness towards it all, these stories are an invigorating read. This short collection is a remarkable attempt to interpret faith and capture its challenges. Ahmad is a young voice who is striving to be the change he wants to see in the world. Having co-founded an award-winning social enterprise  Chapter W —  which works at the intersection of women, technology and social impact, he has been awarded the Outstanding Young Alumni award by National University of Singapore for his work with the community. He believes that magic, wonder and richness of one’s history and culture, together with their quirks and eccentricities, could help narrow the gap in our understanding. His stories seem

Book Review: Made in China by Parinda Joshi

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About the Book Raghu Mehta is a desperate man. His handicraft imports business has unexpectedly collapsed and cash is drying out quickly, his wife thinks he is a loser and society considers him irrelevant. Meanwhile, his closest friends and family all seem to be running flourishing businesses and living luxurious lives in Surat, the diamond capital of India. A trip to China to scout for a new consumer goods business offers a glimmer of hope. But Raghu instead gets sucked into the black-market trade in the back alleys of Beijing. Everything about this new opportunity goes against his god-fearing, vegetarian, middle-class mindset - can he quash his natural instincts to make a success of it? Darkly comical, 'Made in China' is a soul-stirring and thrilling entrepreneurial journey of a man willing to do anything he can to make it big.

Spotlight: The Speaking Stone by Ratnadip Acharya

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The Speaking Stone by Ratnadip Acharya ~Book Tour~ 11th to 17th November

Release Day Blitz - The Sinners by Sourabh Mukherjee

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The Sinners by Sourabh Mukherjee ~ Release Day Blitz ~ 12th November

HOW ANIMALIA INDICA ECHOES VOICES FROM PAST AND PRESENT WITH SUMANA ROY

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  Book Review by Namrata   Title: Animalia Indica –The Finest Animal Stories in Indian Literature  Editor: Sumana Roy Publisher: Aleph Book Company (2019) Edited by Sumana Roy,  Animalia Indica  is a first of its kind collection of animal stories in Indian literature. From classic story tellers like R.K.Narayan, Premchand, Rudyard Kipling to the most recent maestros like Kanishk Tharoor, Perumal Murugan, and Nilanjana Roy, this collection features them all. Sumana Roy is a Siliguri based author whose previous works include a non-fiction title ( How I became a tree ), a fiction novel ( Missing ) and a poetry collection ( Out of Syllabus ). She went on to win the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize and the Tata Literature Live! First Book Award in 2017 for her debut book  How I became a tree . This anthology, with its beautiful cover, has twenty-one stories about humans and animals. It can easily be called a collector’s edition with the who’s who of Indian literature featured within. Not all o

Reflections galore : The Lady In The Mirror by Charu Vashishtha Gulati

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About the book Do you know what you really are? Or has life not tested you yet! 8 stories 8 situations 8 emotions 

WHAT DOES URDU WRITER ISMAT CHUGTAI HAVE IN COMMON WITH FRENCH WRITER SIMON DE BEAUVOIR?

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    Title: The Crooked Line Author: Ismat Chugtai (Translated from Urdu by Tahira Naqvi) Publisher: Speaking Tiger, 2019 Narrating the tale of a lonely child called Shaman, the novel,  The Crooked Line , by Ismat Chugtai is considered to be one of her finest works. Written is an extremely poignant and evocative manner, Shaman’s story takes us through her experiences of growing up as a woman in a conservative Muslim family. Ismat Chugtai  is regarded as one of the most rebellious and provocative women writers in Urdu and continues to be a luminary till date.  The Crooked Line  was originally published in 1945 and was translated into English fifty years later, after it was compared to  The Second Sex  (1949) by de Beauvoir for its strong portrayal of gender and politics. However, the two books are starkly different in their approach with  The Crooked Line  being a novel while  The Second Sex  is a treatise;  though it has always been argued that the former could be semi-autobiographical.

SHE STOOPS TO KILL: HOW THE STORIES OF CRIME AND PASSION CAME ABOUT WITH PREETI GILL, JANICE PARIAT, MITRA PHUKAN, BULBUL SHARMA & MORE…

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  Title: She Stoops to Kill — Stories of Crime and Passion Editor: Preeti Gill Publisher: Speaking Tiger Books Date of Publication: 2019 She Stoops to Kill  is a collection of crime stories written by some of the most illustrious women writers of India. A chanced discussion at Guwahati airport between Preeti Gill and the featured authors about the rising crime rates featured in daily newspapers matured into an anthology of murder stories. Preeti Gill is a renowned name in the literary circles, having worked in the publishing industry for more than two decades now. She has donned various hats during this period, ranging from being a writer, commissioning editor, rights manager, script writer, researcher and is now, an independent editor and literary agent. This collection brings together a heady combination of renowned authors like Paro Anand, Venita Coelho, Uddipana Goswami, Manjula Padmanabhan, Janice Pariat, Mitra Phukan, Pratyaksha and Bulbul Sharma. Interestingly, each one of them

Book Review: Chakra Warriors by Mahendra Jakhar

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About the Book The Godfather of Mumbai, wracked by his son’s brutal death, has called Senior Inspector, Hawa Singh, to catch the killer. The Mastermind, an extremist, lured by the secret, has brought out his forces in Mumbai, determined to wipe off anyone and anything that comes in his way. And when, on the chase of the elusive killer, he discovers a group of scholars, the guardians of the secret, Hawa Singh is in the way.  Image Source: Amazon.in

Book Review: By God - The Making of a Messiah by Shashi Warrier

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About the Book Ghublistan. An island resplendent with the divine herb. A country rich in bat Guano. A society where people are content, happy to serve their Prophet. But the country is experiencing a surge in emigration, and the Prophet is getting restless.  Image Source: Goodreads.com

A Quest for Life- The Angel's Beauty Spots by K.R. Meera

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About the Book In these three stunningly original, lush and provocative novellas, award-winning writer K. R. Meera explores the tragedy, betrayal and violence that rise out of the dark heart of love. ‘ The Angel’s Beauty Spots ’ is a disquieting story about Angela’s repeated infidelities and the trauma of failed love; in ‘ And Forgetting the Tree, I… ’ Radhika tries to come to terms with a former love that refuses to leave her; and ‘ The Deepest Blue’ uses magic and metaphor to tell the story of a wife who yearns for a love that transcends lifetimes. Esteemed as one of the country’s finest storytellers, K. R. Meera’s The Angel’s Beauty Spots: Three Novellas will serve to embellish her already considerable reputation as a writer of strikingly original fiction. These novellas have been translated from the Malayalam by J. Devika.

Nostalgic Notes: A Gallery of Rascals by Ruskin Bond

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About the Book Image Source: Amazon.in Ruskin Bond is the most addictive and entertaining writer in modern Indian literature. The author of over a hundred novels and short-story collections, his fiction is especially celebrated for the unforgettable misfits, Dreamers, small-time con artists, rapscallions, thieves and drifters who populate it. For the first time ever, a gallery of rascals brings together the most memorable rogues to feature in Ruskin Bond’s fiction.  A few brand new stories—‘a man called brain’, ‘Sher Singh and the hot-water bottle’, ‘crossing the road’— headline this collection and rub shoulders with much-loved tales like ‘the thief story’, ‘The boy who broke the Bank’, ‘tigers for dinner’ and ‘a case for Inspector Lal’. thrilling and effortlessly readable, the thirty stories in this book show exactly why Ruskin Bond’s fiction is irresistible.

Spotlight: Justice Gone by N. Lombardi Jr.

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Capital Stories: Death in Delhi (Modern Hindi Short Stories) Translated and Edited by Gordon C. Roadarmel

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                                           About the Book ISBN: 978-9388292764 Genre: Translations/ Fiction/ Short Stories Price: Rs. 399/- Publisher: Aleph Book Company The Hindi short story is one of the most exciting genres in modern Indian literature. The fifteen stories in this volume, by some of the most prominent writers in the field, provide a unique picture of the country today.  Most of the stories focus on urban middle-class individuals and especially those whose lives are marked by alienation and loneliness. They highlight the disruptions caused in a society that is modernizing at a rapid pace while still being blessed and burdened by a strong sense of traditional morality, duty and family ties. Among the writers included in this volume are Kamleshwar, Nirmal Verma, Phanishwarnath 'Renu, Krishna Baldev Vaid and Mohan Rakesh.

Bookish Musings ~ On Re-reading

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HOW FEMINISM IS ‘A YEARNING WOMEN ARE BORN WITH TO BE THEIR TRUEST SELF ‘

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  Title:   The Doctor and Mrs. A.: Ethics and Counter-Ethics in an Indian Dream Analysis Author: Sarah Pinto Publisher: Women Unlimited Year of Publication: 2019   “ How does one remember the future?” Thus, begins  The Doctor and Mrs. A by Sarah Pinto . Based on ethics and counter ethics in an Indian dream analysis, this book is an inspired example of thinking beyond the known. Just before independence, somewhere in early forties, a young Punjabi woman identified only as Mrs. A decided to be a part of an experiment by a psychiatrist, Dev Satya Nanda, for his new method of dream analysis. Unbeknownst to him, she was in an unhappy marriage with a strong urge for freedom from all the bondage. Through this experiment they discovered hidden layers of her personality which included different reflections on sexuality, trauma, ambitions and marriage. Pinto revisits this conversation and explores it in the context of late colonial Indian society. Juxtaposing the past with the present, she deliv

Spotlight - The Missing Fairy Princess by Walter Salvadore Pereira

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About the Book: “The Missing Fairy Princess” is the story of a 16-year-old fairy princess pitted against a powerful witch. The witch has stolen a potent new mantra developed by a colleague, ruthlessly snuffing out a brilliantly innovative mind.  She then hatches an elaborate plot to frame an adversary for her misdeed.  Her intention is to exact sweet revenge from her foe and at the same time, get away with the theft.  The victim, caught in her vicious web, is doomed to disgrace and a life sentence on a harsh penal colony. Meanwhile, the witch learns from her crystal ball, about an imminent threat from a fairy princess wearing a pink tiara.  To ward off that threat she kidnaps the fairy princess, wipes her memory clean and then turns her into a two-year-old girl.

How my reading journal helped me evolve

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As a reader, it is extremely important to read vastly before you finally conclude what you like reading in terms of authors and genres. I started like that too and realised that I love reading. Period. There is no barrier to genres, authors or languages. Even with such a vast option of books to choose from, I had reached a phase where I felt I was getting too mechanical with my reading. I mean read because its a habit, know the story and end of it.

Magical Experience : In the realm of Demons by Imran Kureshi

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Source: Goodreads About the Book A roller-coaster fantasy horror story with Jinns, demons and nagins Mehran is a handsome young Rajput aristocrat – without a grand title, estate or any wealth. He lives with his widowed mother in a decaying mansion in Pakistan, Remembering his beautiful cousin boyer and his childhood in the glittering estate of his Nawab uncle in India. But hidden behind the grandeur of the old palace is a dreadful curse that strikes every heir to the nawabs line. Tragedy hits when, on a red moon night, a demon arrives and koyel falls victim to the terrifying curse. Little does Mehran know that the curse will soon visit him and he will find himself in a world of demons, monsters and nagins. About the Author Imran Kureshi lives in Pakistan. He is a former employee of the Pakistan State Oil Company Limited and has been a freelance editor of books and PhD theses for over sixteen years. His collection of short stories set in rural Punjab, titled Billa

Confessions of a Bibliophile # 1

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"I am not sure that I exist, actually. I am all the writers that I have read, all the people that I have met, all the women that I have loved; all the cities I have visited. " - Jorge Luis Borges Source Every time I start reading a new book I embark on a new journey. Page after page as the magic of words begins too unveil I am transported to a different world. Slowly the characters of the story began to take shape before my eyes. I actually witness them coming alive. Their pain becomes my pain, their smiles begin to appear on my lips and somewhere along with them I fall in love too maybe with them, maybe with all that they love, maybe with the story or maybe simply with the author. 

HOW WILD BOARS WREAK HAVOC IN CANE FIELDS IN ANNIQUA RANA’S TELLING

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  Title: Wild Boar in the Cane Field Author’s Name: Anniqua Rana Publisher: Amazon, 2019 ‘My mothers found me a week after I was born.’ And so, begins the poignant story of Tara’s birth, her survival and her death. Anniqua Rana’s  Wild Boar in the Cane Field  is a testimony to the old adage — survival of the fittest .  Her observations of life of women in rural Pakistan combined with her knack of storytelling, ensures a reader is left enthralled. Anniqua Rana lives in California with her husband and two sons. Apart from teaching English to immigrants and international students in community college, she also writes essays on gender and education. Rana’s novel,  Wild Boar in the Cane Field , journeys rural Pakistan where amidst the cane fields and smell of spices, we are introduced to Tara and her mothers. The prose is evocative and lyrical with descriptions that come alive in every passage. “I hurriedly finished the verse, not sure that I had the strength to continue my pursuit of findi

Cover Reveal: A Secret Tie -The King and the Spy by Summerita Rhayne

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A walk, a milestone and a turn

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Since I started this blog 7.5 years ago, it has undergone so many changes. And yet there is not a single day when I am not feeling proud of having been at it. Throughout all the changes my life has been through in these years, books are one of the many things that kept me sane and this blog continues to be a testimony of my love for it.  So it was extremely overwhelming to see my blog featured in the top 25 literary blogs of India . From being among the top 50 for 6 consecutive years (out of 7.5!) this one is a huge leap for me. Especially since last year when I have consciously started making changes in my review style and trying to lean more towards literary criticism. 

Past, Present & Future - What Mina Did by Geeta Menon

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Source: Goodreads.com Blurb 1998. Twenty-two-year-old Mina is moving to the US from Bangalore to begin a new life with her husband. Then there’s a horrific murder and her life is turned upside down. Mina’s best friend Neelu helps her out of the abyss. Mina gradually leaves her past behind and settles into a new life in the US. Years later, she is forced to return to India and is confronted by the demons from her past. In her fragile mental state, she is unable to support Neelu in her time of need. Their friendship hits rock bottom. Mina goes back to the US and faces further hurdles, this time on the work front. She tries to make amends with Neelu, but their friendship ends with Neelu accusing Mina of something unimaginable related to the murder. Something, that deep down, Mina knows is true... Will Mina redeem herself? Will the people she loves forgive her for what she did? Alternating between flashbacks and the present day, What Mina Did explores how one

In conversation : Faiz Yusuf

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Redefining Life - Supernova by Md Faiz Yusuf

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Someone had once told me, ' Debut novels are always inspired from real life. It is only much later that we get better at camouflaging reality with fiction. So if you want to know an author, always read their first ever book and you will never be disappointed .' Long after finishing Supernova, I kept thinking about these words. Was I reading a real life story or was I reading a deadly combination of reality and fiction where it was difficult to decipher which was what? Still trying to find an answer, but as of now let's talk about how the book made me feel.

Life in Verses by Faiz Yusuf (Guest Post)

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I read this somewhat peculiar quote recently that goes like: "Sometimes you need to push the water down to keep the boat afloat". It was quite bizarre at first if I am being honest, but as moments lingered and time took its usual due course to thrust some sense into me, I was made to see what I so boldly chose to ignore previously- you often need to undertake the unconventional stuff, possibly impossible and maybe sometimes even illogical, to keep certain things running in their infallible order. Moreover, you are never out of options and I feel like knowing that just gives you some kind of satisfying hope to lodge on.

Unheard Voices : Reclaim- An Anthology of Women's Poetry

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Source: Goodreads.com ~About the book~ RECLAIM / RESIST is a forthcoming two-part anthology series that aims to weaponize contemporary literature in reclaiming women's body from the oppression and victimization that we continuously endure in a capitalist-patriarchal society. RECLAIM: An Anthology of Women's Poetry will be the first installment of this series, set for release in Fall 2019. RESIST: An Anthology of Women's Prose will be out in 2020. You can know more about it HERE .

Behind the Book : Supernova by Md Faiz Yusuf

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It isn't everyday that you come across literary debuts that fill you with joy and hope. Joy, on having discovered such a wonderful book and author, and hope, to keep reading such amazing books from the author! Today I am sharing with you one such literary debut that is everything one would want it to be. It is magic, hope, joy, love and life wrapped inside a book for you to devour and bask in.

Clean Bowled: The Nine Waves by Mihir Bose

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Source: Goodreads.com About the book:  ' Mihir has followed Indian cricket since his school days in Mumbai and the nine waves in his own style will bring out the subtleties and the nuances, pulls and pressures, the culture and colour, the politics and the people that make Indian cricket different from other countries’ .’ — Sunil Gavaskar  ‘ The nine waves will captivate all .’ — Ravi Shastri  ‘ Mihir Bose is fantastically well informed on world cricket and has great insight into the game.’ — Moeen Ali  'The nine waves is a tour de force. The most entertaining and comprehensive book on cricket in this country to be published yet, it tells the story of the nine great waves that have rolled through the history of Indian cricket, from India’s international debut in 1932 to the incredible achievements of Virat Kohli’s team today. Each wave or era was chock-full of mesmerizing stars, thrilling moments, great victories, heart-breaking losses and significant turn

The Homecoming - Kashmir As I See It: From Within and Afar by Ashok Dhar

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Source: Goodreads.com Kashmir, a place that has been called heaven on earth, has been bleeding since decades now and sadly there is not much respite to its plight. While my heart goes out to all the Kashmiris who have faced the brutalities time and again, my mind is throbbing with questions as I try to delve deeper and understand the what, how and why. Written by Ashok Dhar, who was born and brought up in Kashmir, this book promises to be give you a first hand insight into the Kashmir issue.   *-*-* Stories of the trauma and betrayal faced by Kashmiris have been told, the events retraced and analysis offered. And yet, one of the most long-standing disputes in India’s post-Independence history remains unsettled. If it were up to Lal Ded, a Sufi poet, she would offer the most difficult solution so far—to look within. Kashmir As I See It, a personal journey interspersed with geopolitical analysis, is not only about the state but also about the voice that yearns to be home aga