Category Archives: bookworm

Books for Thought and Life Lessons

I recently gulped down two books – The Maltese Dreamer  and The Books of Rachel, which gave me ample food for thought. Though the initial common point between these books was historical fiction, I was surprised how the two books … Continue reading

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The Malady of the Sequel

As a reader, the other complaint I have with preplanned/precommissioned sequels is that the writer usually leaves certain strings untied in the first book. It may work well if there is an immediate sequel to pick up from the bookshelves but if a wait for the sequel is involved, a reader like me is left with a feeling of being cheated, of being dissatisfied. And in the zip-zap-zoom world of modern publishing (and especially free e-publishing) you need a true fan to remain clinging to the cliff, where you leave the reader hanging, in anticipation of a sequel. Waiting, patience (and cliff-hanging) is hardly a virtue of modern men and women.

The latest entrant into the grand (and sometimes bland) world of prequels and sequels is our very own Bollywood. In fact, along with remakes this is the other malady that is hurting this multi-crores industry. Financial gains and banking on the popularity of existing characters and themes is the foundation stone of this latest trend in Bollywood, but this foundation is not without fault lines. We are yet to come across a sequel/prequel/remake in Bollywood that has done better than the original. Initially, the audiences were drawn by novelty but now they have become wary. Bollywood money-mongers need a new “hit-formula.” And so does Indian television which is aping the “Seaons” concept of the West, since quite some time. At least when it comes to television, the medium flowers and flourishes with the blessings of the Great Indian Middle Class and will continue to do so with or without the sequels and prequels! Continue reading

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Modern Parables – Two Books with Endearing Messages

Modern Parables – Two Books with Endearing Messages Continue reading

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The Season of Being In-Print

Weeks of researching, rummaging, recalling, interpreting, writing, editing, embedding, and compiling resulted in a multi-media rich profile that I believed was compelling. I could also get some of my friends to contribute their travel photographs for this writing venture.
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Fahrenheit 451 – Relevance in the Age of New Media

The book is a wonderful parody on state-run monopoly, and manipulation, foolishly covered and relayed by the media, and the modern man’s quest for fun and entertainment at the expense of other people’s pain and folly. It is the ultimate reflection of a material world where lack of knowledge and pursuit of entertainment leads to subservience to the vile and the irrational. Like Huxley’s Brave New World, Ray Bradbury has imagined a world were gratification reigns supreme and human beings live in self-assured indulgence. Continue reading

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In Vogue – From Blogs to Books

Books by bloggers are becoming a cultural phenomenon and a trend, and so is populist writing. Any blogger with a blog that will entertain and amuse the public has a chance to get a book deal. The appeal of a blogger’s personality and the passion for a subject becomes an attractive force for publishing houses looking for long-term commitments and sustained zeal. Aspiring authors are even coming out with e-books that can be downloaded from their websites and blogs. (I am reminded of Paulo Coelho’s web-based marketing wherein he releases some chapters of his forthcoming publications on his website, and regularly contributes small pieces of writing on the online newsletter – Warrior of the Light.) Today, such marketing concepts are being well-utilized by the tech-savvy, young and ambitious Indian writers! Continue reading

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The Better Man by Anita Nair

Anita Nair has a knack for crisp and complete characterization and is also an accomplished prose writer with liberal rendering of the scenic and daily life of a small (and fictional) village in Kerala. She has touched on many controversial and sensitive subjects, but all with extreme grace and subtlety. She talks about untouchability, casteism, cultural and religious bias, adultery, exploitation and disregard of women, dominance of power and money, bureaucratic red tapism, and even homosexuality. Continue reading

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In the realm of enchantment – Salman Rushdie’s Enchantress of Florence

Infact, more than Qara Koz, who is supposed to be the central theme, or Enchantress, it is the wonderful characterization of Akbar that dominates and drives the story. Akbar, who enchants the reader in this tale with all his human follies, and royal grandeur, is ultimately enchanted by the power of a woman, even if imaginary. Continue reading

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Huxley’s Dystopian Prophetic Vision – Brave New World (as compared with Orwell’s 1984)

While a discrete reader may find more comparisons between the two works, what is more evident is that the books are two extreme ends of a futuristic world. The reality presented in dystopian literature is a backlash against some modern trends and contemporary tendencies in politics. George Orwell portrays the dangers of totalitarian regimes which show no respect for people’s individuality and freedom. Aldous Huxley satirizes consumerism and presents concerns about overuse of scientific research. Continue reading

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George Orwell’s prophetic novel – 1984

The book begins on the premise of constant fear and a nagging desire to rebel against a political system based largely on absolute power, control, and falsehood. The protagonist Winston Smith, is shown to live in the year 1984 where a political party, Ingsoc, lead by a figure called Big Brother, is controlling the lives, actions and even thoughts of the masses. Basic human faculties of free thought, debate, discussion, self-improvement, professional growth, and social upliftment is suppressed through mental conditioning by a political power that demands unconditional “love” and allegiance to Big Brother.

The book, which is a cult-fiction of sorts is not only prophetic but also invokes deep feelings of fear. 1984 is a novel in three parts, and my interpretation of these three parts can be summarized as follows:

Part I: Rebellion in thought against a prevailing system
Part II: Rebellion in action
Part III: Subjugation of the rebellion displaying the vulnerabilities of man in the face of a larger than life system of control and brainwash

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