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Book Review: Murder Milestone- An Inspector Saralkar Mystery by Salil Desai

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  Image Source: Amazon.in ISBN : 978-9390183661  Publisher : Fingerprint! Publishing Release Date: 1 August 2020  Genre: Suspense, Thriller, Murder Mystery  Price: Rs. 250/-  About the Book “HAPPY HANGING!” Saralkar growled with all the spite in his system and stormed out of the cell. Weeks before serial killer Dharmesh Solanki is to be executed, he wickedly burdens Senior Inspector Saralkar with a macabre secret Saralkar would’ve been better off not knowing. Impelled to verify Solanki’s disturbing claim, Saralkar and PSI Motkar reopen the sixteen-year-old case, for which the senior inspector had won a police medal. And out tumble intriguing leads and shocking facts that had fallen through the cracks back then. Worse, only a motley group of elusive characters might form the shaky bridge to the murky truth—a missing ex-constable, a gluttonous witness who had narrowly escaped being murdered by Solanki, Solanki’s biographer, the serial killer’s own son, and the daughter of one of

HOW VINOD RAI SHEDS LIGHT ON INDIA’S PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS IN RETHINKING GOOD GOVERNANCE

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Title:   Rethinking Good Governance — Holding to Account India’s Public Institutions Author: Vinod Rai Publisher: Rupa Publications, 2019   “ Here is a hugely important book for India and Indians, especially those who should be guardians of the nation and rulers delivering good governance. ” – Baron Meghnad Desai, British economist and Labour politician   Bringing together his experience of heading various public institutions for the Government of India, Vinod Rai gives us a glimpse into the workings of these organisations through this book. Vinod Rai is a man who needs no introduction. An IAS officer from the 1972 batch, he went on to head many important chair positions all through his illustrious career. Starting with being the Comptroller and Auditor General of India followed by being the chairperson for Banks Board Bureau and finally currently being the Chairman of the Supreme Court-mandated Committee of Administrators of the BCCI. Out of the many accolades he won, the most prestig

BLASPHEMY: A STARK REMINDER TO THE SOCIETY

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  Namrata explores Osman Haneef’s debut novel  Blasphemy  ( Published by Readomania, April 2020 ) which raises some important questions on the cruel laws and outdated practices .   “People are entitled to change their minds.” Osman Haneef (Blasphemy) These words from Osman Haneef’s debut novel Blasphemy stay in your mind long after you are done reading it. It denotes my exact thoughts after reading it. I plunged into it with curiosity, completely unaware about what was about to hit me and was in for a surprise. It is one of those rare books which remind you, the problems you are bogged down with, are not yours alone. The degree of the problem might vary, but there are many out there battling with it and wondering if there is any end to it. Haneef’s novel tries to show us that end, though carefully disguised. Through Blasphemy, Haneef explores the controversial law of Pakistan. Highly insightful and majorly one that raises a lot of important questions, this story of a young Christian bo

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 Chandramouli Anuja 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 character

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

IS THE MERMAN BOOK OF POWER ANOTHER ARABIAN NIGHTS?

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  Book Review by Namrata Name: The Merman and the Book of Power- A Qissa Author: Musharraf Ali Farooqi Publisher: Aleph Book Company, 2019 The 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

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 vio

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 : Penguin Released in :  March 2019 An 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  Immortal ,  3  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

OFF THE SHELF: AN ODE TO THE PUBLISHING INDUSTRY

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  Book Review by Namrata Off the Shelf by Sridhar Balan November 2019 Speaking Tiger Publishing Every 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 translation

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), 2020 Featured 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 commemorat

HOW MANJUL BAJAJ WEAVES A NOTE OF HOPE INTO THE TRAGIC EPIC OF HEER RANJHA

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  Title: In Search of Heer  Author: Manjul Bajaj Publisher: Tranquebar Press, 2019 Manjul Bajaj’s  In Search of Heer  is a retelling of the historical tale of Heer Syal and Deedho Ranjha, the star-crossed lovers from Punjab. In her poignant narration, Bajaj manages to highlight some unknown aspects of the centuries old epic love story and leaves a reader content after reading what is otherwise, a sad story. Before becoming a writer, Manjul Bajaj worked in the field of environment and rural development. Both her previous works,  Come, Before Evening Falls  and  Another Man’s Wife  were shortlisted for Hindu Literary Prize. She has also written two books for children. We are in the year 2020 and yet the sheer number of cases of honour killing, especially in South Asian countries is horrifying. While the debate of who is to be blamed for this remains, the end result barely has altered since centuries. Taking the case of Heer Syal from the epic love story of Heer-Ranjha — she was supposedl

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

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Image Source: Amazon.in 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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Image Source: Amazon.in 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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Image Source: Amazon.in 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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Image Source: Amazon.in 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 res

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

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  Book Review by Namrata Title: Coming back to the city, Mumbai Stories Author: Anuradha Kumar Publisher: 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 intervi

IS THE MERMAN BOOK OF POWER ANOTHER ARABIAN NIGHTS?

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Book Review by Namrata Name: The Merman and the Book of Power- A Qissa Author: Musharraf Ali Farooqi Publisher: Aleph Book Company, 2019 The 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 cl

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. Image Source 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 no

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

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  Title: Coming back to the city, Mumbai Stories Author: Anuradha Kumar Publisher: 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. Read the full review on Kitaab

HOW CYRUS MISTRY WEAVES HOPE INTO THE PROSPECT OF MIRACLES

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    Title: The Prospect of Miracles Author: Cyrus Mistry Published by: Aleph Book Company, 2019   The Prospect of Miracles  revolves around the life of Pastor Pius Philipose or rather, his death. Interestingly, in this long-awaited novel, author Cyrus Mistry’s primary character is a dead man. His seemingly natural death is perceived as unexpected to his adorners while his wife experiences the opposite. The rest of the story is about what everyone including his wife think of him. Mistry — the novelist, needs no introduction. His novel  Chronicle of a Corpse Bearer  won the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature in 2014 while his other works have also won many awards and accolades. However, it must be noted that this is the first time, he has moved beyond writing about the Parsi community. Almost all his previous works revolved around the culture, with primary characters also being Parsi. His early works were clear reflection of all his observations of growing up as a Parsi in Mumbai. Few

Book Review: Scavenger's Hunt by Michaelbrent Collings

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About the Book Image Source: Amazon.com 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.