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Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor: On The Cover


Okay, I'm almost halfway through this epic 418-pager and already feel I'm taking quite a long while finishing it up...not finishing, rather I should say, devouring! Since I'm traveling, it's a little difficult for me to make time for reading right now, but I'm trying as hard as I can as I'm simply loving the book! A full review shall follow soon, for now here's what the cover says. And since the cover jacket does not say anything about what the book is about, I'll also add in the note from the author that's more of a disclaimer....Read on!

The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor

'An entertaining tour de force' - Sunday Times

Shashi Tharoor reinvents India with a dazzling marriage of Hindu myth and modern history...

' Perhaps the best work of fiction written by an Indian' - Khushwant Singh, All Asia Review of Books

'This is [a] fascinating novel. It made me sit up' - P.Lal, Telegraph

'The Great Indian Novel is a masterpiece of Indian writing' - Sunday Observer

'Shashi Tharoor's brilliantly written book.....merits to be called a classic' - The Hindu

'Every sane Indian should buy a copy of this book' - Indian Express

'A brilliant concept, well executed and something in it for everyone' - The Book Review

'The Great Indian Novel might upset a few people, but more than that it will entertain and amuse' - Bombay

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Mother's Love by Rosie Harris: First Page Mondays

Recently I picked up this lovely book titled A Mother's Love by Rosie Harris. One of the first things that pulled me to the book was the beautiful cover - a mother holding a little nappy-clad baby in her arms. As I read the cover jacket, I knew I had to read it. You can read the cover jacket here. Below is the first page of the book..Enjoy!

 'Julia Winter stood transfixed; her turquoise-blue eyes wide with surprise, completely mesmerised by the reaction registered on the faces of her parents in response to her simple statement, 'We want to get married.'

 She had thought they might make some sort of protest, probably try to walk her out of it even, especially since Bernard was due to go the Front any day now, but she hadn't expected either of them to look so shocked and outraged, especially since it was 1915 and the War had been going on for over a year. After all, she was the eldest daughter, and so it was surely expected that she would get married someday soon.

 Apprehensively, she linked hands with her cousin, Bernard Winter, who was standing soldier-straight at her side, and looking very handsome in his officer's uniform.

 The silence in the room, broken only by the stentorian ticking of the grandfather clock, seemed to last for ever.

 Julia bit hard on the inside of her cheek as the panic that had begun to build up inside her became an ache deep in her chest. She felt.......'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Friday, March 22, 2013

RIP Chinua Achebe: A Master Storyteller And His Quotes

22nd March 2013 - the world lost a great storyteller today: Chinua Achebe....

The first time I got a glimpse of this master storyteller's magic was when I read one of his most popular work - Things Fall Apart.

It was the first time I was reading African literature, and as I turned each page, I couldn't help but get lost in the wilderness and richness of a culture that was so different from mine, yet felt so connected in some way. I was bowled over!

By the time I reached towards the end, I had already fallen in love with the characters, thinking of them as my own friends, people who were facing a common enemy, friends who were facing an assault on themselves, their culture and their beliefs, and it was making me jumpy. I so wanted them to be able to live the life they were leading. I was engrossed, connected and the story forever imprinted on my mind and heart.

It's been at least 10 years I first read Things Fall Apart, and I am about to read it again (it's a co-incidence that the news of Chinua Achebe's passing away came when it did. I wasn't able to locate my old copy of the book and just bought a new one.)

As I was going through the online world, I couldn't help but want to share a few wonderful quotes of the master story teller himself....

Art is a man's constant effort to create for himself a different order of reality from that which is given to him.

People create stories create people; or rather stories create people create stories.

Nigeria is what it is because it's leaders are not what they should be.

One of the truest tests of integrity is its refusal to be compromised.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Mother's Love by Rosie Harris: On The Cover

Recently picked up a lovely book called A Mother's Love by Rosie Harris. The cover read really interesting, let's hope the book is as good too!

'When the truth lies buried in the past......

She disobeyed her family, and paid the price.....

Finding herself pregnant, Julia Winter is forced to leave home rather than bring shame on her family. Reduced to living in the slums of Liverpool, she eventually finds work in a respectable hotel where Eunice Hawkins, the manager's wife, is also expecting. For a while, Julia dares to hope for a better future for herself and her unborn child. But soon tragedy strikes - Julia's baby is stillborn at the same time as Eunice gives birth to a healthy baby girl, Amanda.

 Although heartbroken at the death of her own baby, Julia helps to look after Amanda. However, Paul and Eunice Hawkins hide a secret too terrible to reveal and it is only their deaths and teenage Amanda's sudden disappearance that Julia learns the truth. And just when she might have a chance of happiness at last, she is faced with the hardest decision of all........'

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Author Devon Trevarrow Flaherty Talks About Her Big Dream Come True: Her New Release Benevolent (That's Available Now!)

When Author Devon Trevarrow Flaherty wrote in to me talking about her book Benevolent (it has just released virtually on the 18th of March 2013), the first thing that drew me to have a closer look at the book was definitely the cover (I always believe that a good book should have an equally good cover!) and the way in which she described the book to me - '........also falls under the labels of magic realism and coming-of-age, and includes some satire, humanitarianism, and romance. Plus, if you loved the 80s, the 90s, Detroit, the suburbs, the Midwest, or Israel, you’ll feel right at home with Gaby and the rest of the characters.'

I immediately fell in love with the 'idea' of the book and was curious to know more. It was great that she had attached a link to the first chapter of her book, and once I was through with it, I knew I wanted to read what happened next. And I wrote in immediately to her, asking about it! I'm sure you'll feel the same, so here's the link to the first chapter of Benevolent by Devon Trevarrow Flaherty.

Since her book has just now released virtually, to hit the reading market everywhere, it's an honour to have her here on the blog writing a guest post....Over to Devon to know a bit more about her as a person, as an author, about her experiences, ideas and what all went into creating, and finally, giving birth to Benevolent...

Benevolent by Devon Trevarrow Flaherty: Available For You To Bring Home Now

Author Devon Trevarrow Flaherty's book Benevolent has just come out this 18th of March 2013, and this is one book you surely can't miss out on! As I was speaking to her some days before the launch, she told me that though most would categorize this 406-page novel as literary fiction, 'it also falls under the labels of magic realism and coming-of-age, and includes some satire, humanitarianism, and romance. Plus, if you loved the 80s, the 90s, Detroit, the suburbs, the Midwest, or Israel, you’ll feel right at home with Gaby and the rest of the characters.'

So what is the book all about??

Gaby LeFevre is a suburban, Midwestern firecracker, growing up in the 80s and 90s and saving the world one homeless person, centenarian, and orphan at a time. With her crew of twin sister, Annie, smitten Mikhail, and frenemy Mel, she’s a pamphlet-wielding humanitarian, tackling a broken world full of heroes and heroines, villains and magical seeds, and Northwyth stories.

Beginning with a roadkill-burying nine-year-old and a gas-leak explosion, Benevolent follows Gaby from her formative years; through her awakening during a soup-kitchen stampede; through high school drama; a college career filled with an epic term paper, a building fire, and a protest-gone-bad; to Israel, a land full of romance and mysticism. It all ends back in metro-Detroit with a cataclysmic clash to resolve all good intentions.

Monday, March 11, 2013

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath: First Page Mondays

I happened to read about this book in a newspaper column. The article was so interesting that I immediately checked online to see if I could find a copy - sure I could - though it was quite expensive, at INR 640 for 234 pages of paperback! But since I knew what the book was about, I just couldn't let it go. And so, as a birthday present last month, hubby got it for me :-) Super happy! I finished reading it in a day......it's an un-putdownable one and if you haven't read it yet, you've missed out on a masterpiece!

Here's what the first page reads like....

'It was a queer and sultry summer, the summer they electrocuted the Rosenbergs, and I didn't know what I was doing in New York. I'm stupid about executions. The idea of being electrocuted makes me sick, and that's all there was to read about in the papers - goggle-eyed headlines staring up at me on every street corner and at the fusty, peanut-smelling mouth of every subway. It had nothing to do with me, but I couldn't help wondering what it would be like, being burned alive all along your nerves.

 I thought it might be the worst thing in the world.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Paradise by Toni Morrison: Sneaky Peeky Sundays

As always, I'm blown away by the work of Toni Morrison...I have read 2 of her works before, and this is the third, and as expected, the magic, continues and intensifies.....!!!! If you haven't read Paradise by Toni Morrison, you definitely got to read it !!!!!

Here's the page from the book I am right now on.....

...for sacks of raisins. Invariably they picked up a little something more from the shelves.

 The contentment she drew from Richard's fire made her smile. But she couldn't be a minister's wife. Never. Could she? Well, he had not asked her to be one - so enjoy the stove heat, the nape of his neck and the invisible presence of kittens.

 After a while, a station wagon drove up and parked so close to the store, both Misner and Anna could see the fever in the baby's blue eyes. The mother held the child over her shoulder and stroked its yellow hair. The driver, a city-dressed man in his forties, got out and pushed open Anna's door.

 'How you all doing?' he smiled.

Friday, March 8, 2013

For The Lovely Authors Who Write In To Me

All you lovely people who write in to me, the authors, the PR people, the bookstores or sites....I am really thankful that you take the time out to reach out to me, and that you liked my blog in the first place to want to send me a copy of your work so that I could read it and talk about it here.

While I absolutely love reading, there are of course a few genres that are not really my cup of ginger tea :-) I understand that they are well-received by many fans, but sometimes, there are books that I just don't get that interested to read, so I honestly have to refuse to be able to read such work.

Then again, one thing that I always end up refusing is the offer of reading a free e-book and talking about it. Just to illustrate once again, I'm like that cave-girl who will only only and only read a book that's physically alive in her hands, and not read something that's caged up in a screen. Sorry if I sound rude or harsh, and of course out-dated, but that's just who I am and I can't pretend to be something I'm not. So for all you lovely people whom I have refused and who I shall refuse on the offer of reading an e-book, I hope you do understand.

Lastly, just to let you know once again (it's there in my info section but I guess some people do end up missing reading it), I am based in Mumbai, India, and if you want me to review one of your books, you'll have to ship me a copy to my Mumbai India address. I understand that's it's not always possible to send over a book so far, so that's perfectly okay too :-)

I thank all you lovely people once again for taking your time out and visiting my blog, and liking a bit of it and reaching out to me......Wish you all the very best for all your future projects.....

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Stalker by Mack Tanner: Review

Recently I finished reading The Stalker by author Mack Tanner. I happened to pick up this book by chance at a local used-books store that I often frequent, and since the cover jacket sounded interesting, I thought I would give it a try. As I hadn’t heard about this book ever, I had no expectations, and in fact began reading it thinking if it had been worth picking up. I was sure to find out.

The plot is set through six different cities across the world, where strangely, six Americans are found murdered – hanging in the bathroom. While this is one common occurrence in all six deaths, there is another, extremely disturbing similarity in all these tragic incidents. What baffles all those investigating the deaths is whether these are tragic accidental deaths, planned suicides, or the work of an extremely sharp mind of that of a crazed serial killer. The FBI, the State Department, foreign police and the Horizon Insurance Company officials are at a dead end, trying to pool in their minds and resources to arrive at a conclusion and get that one clue that will let them make some headway. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Separate Beds by Elizabeth Buchanan: Sneaky Peeky Sunday

Have been missing out on this one for some time now, so here it is...the page I'm on at the moment...from the book Separate Beds by Elizabeth Buchanan.

...Tom kept his eyes on the board. 'But I agree we should guard against being too acquisitive.'

 'Dad.....pompous or what?' Emily poked his arm.

 Tom grinned. 'Games are useful in this way. The government should demand everyone plays Monopoly once a week in order to allow our rotten impulses full rein and to purge the system. Wouldn't you say, Annie?'

 Was this his way of making up for being so unresponsive earlier? Once, he had used this easy good humour to woo Annie and she had loved it. She hadn't thought back to that time very much in recent years but when she did so her heart took on a life of its own.

 She got up, ran water into a glass and drank it thirstily.