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Showing posts from 2020

Yet again!

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It always feels good to see the efforts put in behind a blog be appreciated and that too in a humongous way! Yet again, for the 7th year in a row this blog has been a part of this list which features the Top Literary Blogs in India for the year 2020. This blog turns 9 in a few months and out of those 9, this blog has been a part of this list for 7 which for me is a huge compliment. What started as a love for the written word metamorphosed into love for literary criticism, and from this blog my reviews went onto get published in various magazines and ezines both national and international.Today, as the editor of a magazine when I look back to trace this journey of 9 years it has brought me nothing but immense joy and loads of learning, something which I am sure the best of MFAs or literary criticism degrees couldn't have taught me.So here's to yet another exciting journey to gather more such coveted titles, to continue loving books and to write about them at length.

MOHINI – THE ENCHANTRESS : A BEAUTIFUL ODE TO THE GODDESS OF BEAUTY AND FERTILITY

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Namrata talks about Anuja Chandramouli’s latest book, Mohini: The Enchantress ( August, 2020) calling it an attempt to paint a fresh image of Mohini in the reader’s mind. “Elusive as a fragment of a forgotten dream, fragile as a figment from fantasy, Mohini is perfection made possible.
Distilled from the essence of Vishnu, Mohini the Enchantress is a part of him and yet she revels in the autonomy and extraordinary powers of beauty, magic and enchantment that are hers to wield. She is loved and desired by all in existence and yet, she is elusive tantalizing temptress, traipsing her way across the topsy-turvy terrain of fable and myth.”Anuja ChandramouliAnuja Chandramouli’s Mohini is a beautiful ode to the Goddess of Beauty and Fertility. Considered to be the only female avatar of Vishnu, created by Vishnu and Shakti, this book traces her life through sands of time.As an author Anuja Chandramouli has been known to explore lesser known aspects of different mythological characters and bring…

SHADOW CITY: ALL ABOUT CHILDHOOD, ANCESTRAL ROOTS, HERITAGE, CULTURE AND FAMILIAL TIES

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Namrata explores Kabul through Taran N Khan’s Shadow City which according to her isn’t just about a city. Stories in Kabul begin with the phrase ‘Yeki bood, yeki na bood.’ There was one, there was no one.Taran N Khan (Shadow City)Taran N Khan’s first book, Shadow City takes us around Kabul highlighting the varied experiences the city and its people have been through over years. It is neither a memoir, nor a travelogue. Lying somewhere in between, Khan has found the perfect voice to depict a place which has been through so much and yet continues to thrive in various ways.Growing up in Aligarh, Khan grew up with a fascination for Afghanistan due to her Pashtun background. After completing her education in Delhi and London, she has now decided to call Mumbai her home for the time being. Her works have been widely published in India and internationally, including in Guernica, Al Jazeera, the Caravan and Himal Southasian. Her writing has also received support from the MacDowell Colony, the …

FALL BABY: DILEMMA OF AN ARTIST AND THEIR STRUGGLES

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Evocative and alluring , Namrata reviews Laksmi Pamuntjak’s Fall Baby(Published by Penguin SEA, 2019) ‘Somewhere in mid-flight, it occurs to me that I’m still at home and without a home; its just that now there are two homes instead of one and that must count for something.’With lines akin to poetry, Pamuntjak’s latest novel Fall Baby is a compelling read. Interestingly, one of the main protagonists of this novel, Siri, is the illegitimate daughter of Amba and Bhisma, the protagonists of Laksmi Pamuntjak’s award winning first novel, Amba/ The Question of Red.Laksmi Pamuntjak is a bilingual Indonesian novelist, poet, journalist, essayist and food critic. Her debut novel Amba/The Question of Red won many awards and has been translated into several languages followed by her second novel, The Birdwoman’s Palate which was adapted into a movie.  She writes across genres dabbling in a poetry collection, a food guide, collection of short stories on painting and a treatise on violence and the I…

BEAST: AN URBAN FANTASY REMINISCENT OF A FOLKLORE

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Namrata looks at Krishna Udayasankar’s new novel set in Mumbai in the backdrop of the dark underbelly of the city amidst the world of Saimhas (werelions) Publisher: PenguinReleased in : March 2019An urban fantasy set in the mega city of Mumbai, Beast by Krishna Udayasankar reminds you of the folklore of Lord Narsimha and Prahalad. The description of one being ‘Neither a man, nor an animal’, is the common thread between the two.Krishna Udayasankar is known as the author of The Aryavarta Chronicles long with Immortal3 and Objects of Affection. Her books have known to be a fascinating point where myth and science meet. Beast also falls in that category where she talks about Mumbai being attacked by werelions (Saimhas) who have been living alongside human-beings since ancient times. The cover of the book is set in greyish blue tones against the backdrop of a lit-up Mumbai skyline with a hazy face of the lion playing hide and seek with the reader. The cover along with the first line of th…

OFF THE SHELF: AN ODE TO THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY

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Book Review by NamrataOff the Shelf by Sridhar BalanNovember 2019Speaking Tiger PublishingEvery book has a lot of people involved in it. Of course, a writer is at the core of it all but once the writer is done writing it, we have the beta-readers and editors who polish it further to make it publishing ready. Furthermore, we have the cover designer, typesetter, marketing team and many others who work on giving it the final shape before we the readers get to hold it in our hands. Off the Shelf  by Sridhar Balan is an ode to all those people (invisible hands) who work on a book to make sure it reaches the readers in a beautiful package, inside out.Sridhar Balan is a senior professional in the publishing industry with decades of experience in the Indian publishing industry. Having worked with Oxford University Press and Ratna Sagar P Ltd, he has also been a literary columnist with several Indian newspapers. Currently, he is a consultant with Ratna Books, an imprint for translations.Off th…

ONE DROP OF BLOOD : MOURNING AND MARTYRDOM

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Namrata reviews One Drop of Blood by Ismat Chugtai based on the battle of Karbala. Published by Women Unlimited (An Associate of Kali for Women), 2020Featured in Hindustan Times as one of the interesting books early this year, One Drop of Blood by Ismat Chugtai is a unique book in many ways. Firstly, it is the last work of Ismat Chugtai and secondly, it so different from her usual line of work.One drop of Blood is based on the battle of Karbala fought in 680 A.D. in present-day Iraq between Yazid, the reigning Caliph and his mighty soldiers and Imam Husain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad with his small army. According to the Islamic calendar Muharram is the first month of the year and the second holiest month, after the month of Ramzan. Muharram is also a period of mourning the martyrdom of Imam Husain and his family (including his infant grandchild) in the battle of Karbala.As she herself states in an interview,“The tragedy behind the pageantry of Muharram commemoration forced me to…

Book Review: Who would marry a Mamma's boy and other stories by Manjula Pal

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About the Book 
Who Wants to Marry a Mamma’s Boy and Other Stories is an engaging collection of short stories by columnist and award-winning writer Manjula Pal. She strings together the emotional journeys of a diverse set of women at different stages in their life. The realism in her stories is unmistakable: whether it is a teenager facing the dilemma over right and wrong but eventually succumbing to social pressure, or the dilemma of an ambitious woman caught between a demanding career and an even more demanding boyfriend, or the socio-cultural dynamics that affect relationships, or how guilt can make or break a person. Manjula takes a deep dive into several unexplored areas of life and reaffirms that happiness is all about striking a balance between commitment and compromise.

Book Review: The Monsters still Lurk by Aruna Nambiar

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About the Book
‘We were an ordinary family, with conventional lives. We were mostly happy, but always cautious of too much happiness. We were hardly religious, just pious enough to keep us on the straight and narrow. We bickered a little but would never have thought to be estranged. We feared illness and anticipated eventual death, but we expected life to follow a certain path, a particular schedule. Until...’

New Release: Guns and Saffron by Alif

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Synopsis of the novel 
Yakub is a seasoned militant who will do anything to free Kashmir. His handler, Major Khaleel, from Pakistan’s intelligence service, who became friends with Osama bin Laden, during his stay in Abbottabad, wants vengeance for bin Laden’s killing. So, he devises a major terrorist attack codenamed Mission M, with the twin objective of vengeance on the West and India. Hassan, Yakub’s nephew and the orphan of a militant, is entrusted with the responsibility of fulfilling Mission M to avenge his father. Shehed, Hassan’s lover, is a strong-willed woman who tries to stop him. And Rafi is a habitual crook who is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. A tense and fascinating novel of conflict, both political and personal, and the extraordinary lengths people will go to protect those they love.

Release Day Blitz - A Barren Heart by Shilpa Suraj

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Cover Reveal - A Barren Heart by Shilpa Suraj

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Coming to Your Kindle on 29th May
Pre-Order your copy NOW!

Book Review : Prelude to a riot by Annie Zaidi

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About the Book
In a peaceful southern town, amidst lush spice plantations, trouble is brewing. In the town live three generations of two families, one Hindu and the other Muslim, whose lives will be changed forever by the coming violence. At risk are Dada, the ageing grandfather who lovingly tends and talks to the plants on his estate; his strong-willed grandchildren, Abu and Fareeda; the newly married Devaki, who cannot fathom the forces that are turning her husband and her father into fanatics; Mariam, of the gifted hands, who kneads and pounds the fatigued muscles of tourists into submission; and Garuda, the high-school teacher who, in his own desperate way, is trying to impart the truth about the country’s history to a classroom of uninterested students. Quietly but surely, the spectre of religious intolerance is beginning to haunt the community in the guise of the Self-Respect Forum whose mission is to divide the town and destroy the delicate balance of respect and cooperation tha…

HOW ANURADHA KUMAR MAKES MUMBAI COME ALIVE IN HER NOVEL COMING BACK TO THE CITY

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Book Review by NamrataTitle: Coming back to the city, Mumbai StoriesAuthor: Anuradha KumarPublisher: Speaking Tiger Books, 2019‘She’s from Amrika, your new tenant, Pooja. A gori.’Thus, begins the interwoven tale of lost souls living in the city of dreams, Mumbai by Anuradha Kumar.The city of Mumbai is as mysterious as it can be. On one hand it is called the eternal city of dreams, meaning a place where people come with their dreams and work hard to get them fulfilled. While on the other hand, it is also known as the city which never sleeps. So, either the dreams you have are the ones you see wide awake or it is a contrast, signalling at the sleek chances of your dreams coming true. Whatever be the deeper meaning, it has never stopped people from aspiring and dreaming to live in this city.Bringing together her experiences of living in Mumbai for 14 years, Kumar creates a moving tale from the great metropolis with stories both heard and unheard.As she mentions in her interview to Kitaab

IS THE MERMAN BOOK OF POWER ANOTHER ARABIAN NIGHTS?

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Book Review by NamrataName: The Merman and the Book of Power- A QissaAuthor: Musharraf Ali FarooqiPublisher: Aleph Book Company, 2019The Merman and the Book of Power is the retelling of a qissa, a classic storytelling form in Urdu. This epic novel combines myth with history to give us a glimpse of the evolution of civilisation.Author Musharraf Ali Farooqi works have been critically acclaimed and have been a finalist for both, Man Asia Literary Prize 2012 and DSC Prize for South Asian Literature 2008 apart from being longlisted for IMPAC/Dublin Literary Prize. Along with being a writer, he is also an editor, translator and founder of the Storykit Program.As Farooqi says in the Author’s Note, “This book merges the parallel histories, myths and multiple personas for Apollonius of Tyana, Hermes Trismegistus and Alexander the Great in the Western and Eastern literary canon, and the various religious, occult and apocalyptic traditions associated with them.”Deeply reminiscent of classics lik…

Book Blitz : The Songbirds by Alif

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Book Blitz : Karma's Dilemma by Karma

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One step at a time...

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This blog has been a witness to my journey as a reader, writer and most importantly, as a book lover. I have shared my editing woes, of clients leaving me in despair, of books I have loved and lived and of course all the milestones that have adorned my nine year journey till here. Yes, this is the 9th year of the blog and I don't know how it all happened.
I just know - I want this blog to be the epigraph for the book of my life. This is what life meant to me and this is what I created.

All I know is this blog was the beginning of a dream in 2011 and I don't know what the end destination is going to be like. As the image above says, I started with absolutely no vision. I started this blog purely out of love for books and the written word. I loved listening to authors and their journeys. It felt magical to hold a book in my hand every single time and it still does. Given that I read my first book when I was 4, it has been a long way! 
The goal might not be clear but milestones ma…

Book Review: Scavenger's Hunt by Michaelbrent Collings

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About the Book
A #1 bestselling horror author with a QUARTER MILLION BOOKS DOWNLOADED brings you "a great, complex story" (Horror After Dark) with "twists and turns that keep you guessing right up towards the end" (Horror Drive-In).
“I already know all your names. As for me... you can call me Mr. Do-Good.”

Five strangers have woken up in a white room. A room with no doors, no windows.

A room with no hope.

Excerpt from Race by Karma

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A Writer's Journey by Karma (Guest Post)

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Dear Readers,
I am very grateful to The Book Elf for providing me with the opportunity to feature on the blog. It’s a refreshing feeling to be welcomed into sharing my literary work without the small caveat of constantly being asked to pay for the privilege.
Before I tell you about my new novel, I want to answer a question that might arise in your mind. Given there are already so many writers (some might think too many), the question is: Why should I write at all?

Book Review: Rhododendrons in the Mist by Ruskin Bond

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Book Blitz & Giveaway - Saved by Love by Shilpa Suraj

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Book Blitz Pack - Unusual Equations by Anupriya

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