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Monday, January 28, 2013

Chocolat by Joanne Harris: First Page Mondays

I'm reading this cosy book right now (yes, that's the word that came first to mind when I started reading the book and even when I was watching the movie) Chocolat by Joanne Harris. Here's a look at the first page from the book...enjoy :-)

February 11
Shrove Tuesday

WE CAME ON THE WIND OF THE CARNIVAL. A WARM WIND FOR February, laden with the hot greasy scents of frying pancakes and sausages and powdery-sweet waffles cooked on the hotplate right there by the roadside, with the confetti sleeting down collars and cuffs and rolling in the gutters like an idiot antidote to winter. There is a febrile excitement in the crowds which line the narrow main street, necks craning to catch sight of the crepe-covered char with its trailing ribbons and paper rosettes. Anouk watches, eyes wide, a yellow balloon in one hand and a toy trumpet in the other, from between a shopping-basket and a sad brown dog. We have seen carnivals before, she and I; a procession of two hundred and fifty of the decorated chars in Paris last Mardi Gras, a hundred and eighty in New York, two dozen marching bands in Vienna, clowns on stilts, the Grosses Tetes with their lolling papier-mache heads, drum majorettes with batons spinning and sparkling. But at six the world retains a special lustre. A wooden cart, hastily decorated with gilt and crepe and scenes from fairy tales. A dragon's head in a shield, Rapunzel in a woollen wig, a mermaid with a...........

- Debolina Raja Gupta

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Live Chat with Author Manil Suri About His Book The City of Devi

Bloomsbury India hosted a live chat with author Manil Suri today about his book 'The City of Devi' on ibnlive.com and some interesting discussion popped up. Here's a look at the chat transcript for those of you who may have missed it and would like a look :-)

To know about the book, click here

Q: I recently read an interview on Bloomsbury India's Facebook where you mentioned your recent love for seafood. What else do you like about the city? Asked by: Sunil
A: The sea! Mumbai has one of the most dramatic sealines I've ever seen. I've visited the French Riviera, the Caribbean, and the Amalfi Coast - they all are very beautiful, but there's something about that sight of Marine Drive that never fails to get me each time.

Q: Do you think people read a lot less now, than they used to? Asked by: Joycee
I think they probably read less books, given that there are so many different pastimes and pursuits vying for their attention. Look at us, chatting away on the computer - perhaps a half century ago, we'd both be curled up, engrossed in a book.
A: What was the biggest lesson you learnt while writing The City of Devi? Asked by: Rajat
I had a very tough time writing it - tying together the plot strands was incredibly different. At one point, I approached it like a mathematician, drew out a decision tree, much like you would plot possible moves in a chess game. Realized that none of my "moves" worked, so thought I had proved mathematically that the novel could not be written. Abandoned it, but eventually picked it up again, and managed to finish it this time. Lesson learned: fiction is different from mathematics.

Q: Congrats Manil. I am fond of writing and would love to write a novel, but haven't written one as yet. How can i know if I have it in me what it takes to be a good novelist ? Asked by: Ravi
A: The only way to know is to give it a try. In fact, give it two tries, since a long time ago, I started a novel, and then abandoned it after 5 chapters.

Q: Wow! That was a very mathematical response! A little difficult for me to comprehend! Will your next book on maths make it simpler for mathophobics like me? Asked by: Rhea
A: I certainly hope so! The idea is to do math outreach, since it has such a bad reputation. The ideas of mathematics are actually very interesting, it's the calculations that people have problems with.

Q: Do you have a favourite, out of all the books you've written? Asked by: Simone
A: Well, right now, I can only think of "The City of Devi" - definitely my favorite for the moment. Perhaps you should ask this on my deathbed - maybe I'd give a more reasoned answer then. Not only is it my favorite, but Jaz is my favorite character - and I even have a favorite amongst his one-liners: "I gave the Sikh a seekh kebab of my own." That one had me rolling on the floor for a while.

Q: What do we look forward to next from you? Asked by: Debolina Raja Gupta
A: Well, there's the math novel I think I mentioned earlier - I was hoping that one would be a quickie, but it's probably going to take me my usual five or so years.

The City of Devi by Manil Suri: About


Okay, so Bloomsbury recently launched the book 'The City of Devi' by author Manil Suri. Here's a bit on what the book is about....

'In the desolate streets of Mumbai, empty after threats of nuclear annihilation, Sarita can only think of one thing. She must buy the last pomegranate that remains in perhaps the entire city for her physicist husband Karun, who has been mysteriously missing for over a fortnight. Jaz - young, cocky and handsome - is also looking for his own lover. 'The Jazter', as he calls himself, is a Muslim, but his true religion has steadfastly been sex with men. Traversing the surreal landscape, always under the pervasive influence of the Bollywood cinema megahit Superdevi that some blame for sparking religious fanaticism, both Sarita and Jaz find themselves drawn to the patron goddess Devi ma, supposed saviour of the city. A wickedly satirical and fiercely provocative tale of individuals balancing on the sharp edge of fate, 'The City of Devi' upsets assumptions of politics, religion and sex in the present day's rising global superpower and demonstrates that, in the fallout of our mass media world, we are left seeking those we love most.'

You can head out to your nearest bookstore to get your copy, or buy it online from the Bloomsbury site here.

The book description looks interesting, and I will surely try and grab a copy :-)







- Debolina Raja Gupta

Monday, January 21, 2013

Chocolat by Joanne Harris: First Page Mondays

Wow, so I came across this gorgeous book at a local road-side bookseller selling old second-hand books. I grabbed it the moment I read the title...Who hasn't seen this magic of a movie? Im totally in love with it and couldn't have been more delighted to get the book Chocolat by Joanne Harris. If you haven't watched the movie, this is one story that was adapted as much magically in the cine world as in the words world....

Here's a look at the first page of the book....

'February 11
Shrove Tuesday

WE CAME ON THE WIND OF THE CARNIVAL, A WARM WIND FOR February, laden with the hot greasy scents of frying pancakes and sausages and powdery-sweet waffles cooked on the hotplate right there by the roadside, with the confetti sleeting down collars and cuffs and rolling in the gutters like an idiot antidote to winter. There is a febrile excitement in the crowds which line the narrow main street, necks craning to catch sight of the crepe-covered char with its trailing ribboms and paper rosettes. Anouk watches, eyes wide, a yellow balloon in one hand and a toy trumpet in the other; from between a shopping basket and a sad brown dog. We have seen carnivals before, she and I; a procession of two hundred and fifty of the decorated chars in Paris last Mardi Gras, a hundred and eighty in New York, two dozen marching bands in Vienna, clowns on stilts, the Grosses Tetes with their lolling papier-mache heads, drum majorettes with batons spinning and sparkling. But at six the world retains a special lustre. A wooden cart, hastily decorated with gilt and crepe and scenes from fairy tales. A dragon's head on a shield, Rapunzel in a woollen wig, a mermaid with a ........'




Author Joanne Harris













- Debolina Raja Gupta

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ayn Rand And The World She Made by Anna C. Heller: On The Cover

If you've read The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged, you probably love Ayn Rand too. I read both the books quite a long time back and don't really remember much of it now - I'm gonna read them soon all over again. So I was pretty excited to see this book at my local bookstore - Ayn Rand And The World She Made by Anna C Heller.

Here's a look at what the cover jacket says:

'Ground breaking...a thoughtful, flesh and blood portrait of an extremely complicated and self-contradictory woman.' - Janet Maslin, The New York Times

''Famous for her credo of individualism and unbridled capitalism, novelist and philosopher Ayn Rand never talked about her life as Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum, an awkward and offbeat Russian Jewish girl of startling intelligence. Yet Heller believes that Rand's adamant self-regard and vehement protest against any form of collectivism or social conscience are rooted in her family's suffering in early-twentieth-century Russia, where Jews were violently persecuted and personal freedom was abolished. Heller is the first to fully investigate and vigorously chronicle Rand's willful life and phenomenal and controversial achievements, from her sense of destiny (by age 11 she had already written four novels) to her arrival in America at age 21 in 1926, her work in Hollywood, and her reign in New York as a cult figurehead. Heller also offers arresting analysis of The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, Rand's critically condemned yet perpetually popular and enormously influential novels of erotic melodrama and self-aggrandizing ideology. But the heart of the book is the wrenching story of Rand's marriage to long-suffering Frank O'Connor and her affair with the much younger man who packaged and peddled her beliefs as Objectivism. The champion of individuality who insisted on obedience and conformity from her followers (including Alan Greenspan), Rand emerges from Heller's superbly vivid, enlightening and affecting biography in all her paradoxical power.''
- Excerpts from Booklist review

Anne C Heller is a magazine editor and journalist. She has been the managing editor of The Antioch Review, a fiction editor of Esquire and Redbook , the features editor of Lear's and the executive editor of the magazine development group at Conde Nast Publications. With a special emphasis on money and finance, it was Ayn Rand's writing about money that first aroused her interest in the author, who is one of the most passionate defenders of capitalism of all times. Heller has written for a number of national magazines.
- Debolina Raja Gupta