More of this and that

Hi! How’s everyone been doing?

I read ‘Twenty Love Poems and a song of despair’ by Pablo Neruda recently. This book had been on my TBR for a long time – I think a couple of years, in fact. But now that I’ve read it, I’m a bit underwhelmed. Maybe I just expected too much from it.

I’ve been attending the BlogchatterWritFest and so far, they’ve had online sessions with Samit Basu, Sidharth Jain, Amanda Deibert, Pallavi Aiyar, Jenny Bhatt, Jayashree Kalathil and Manreet Sodhi Someshwar.

In one of these sessions, I learned about the Pomodoro method of time management. You can read more about it here.

I read Kuzhali Manickavel’s ‘Eating sugar, Telling Lies’ recently. It’s a short and slightly disturbing read. I loved her writing style and also her use of monikers in the story.

I read ‘Three is a lonely number; a story in verse form on Kindle Unlimited. The plot was a bit Bollywoodish, but I enjoyed it all the same.

I loved ‘The adventures of the JP family’ by Radhika Acharya! I’ve been reading the author’s Kamalamma series on her blog for a while now. This book, where she has created new characters of the JP family has her trademark sense of humour on every page. The author makes even an ordinary event appear funny through her skilled writing. It’s a must-read!

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

It was my birthday recently and as is the new practice at the Creative Soul Club by Blogchatter, the birthday girl ( me)  was admin for the day. I shared a picture of Starry Night, the world-famous painting by Vincent Van Gogh and asked the members to a) Use one word to describe the emotion it triggers in them b) Write a brief poem ( even 4 lines was good). c) Try to replicate the painting d) Share a song that it reminds them of. e) Write a story.

I got a bunch of interesting answers! Would you like to try it?

My Current Read – ‘The Anatomy of Scars’

Hello, everyone! Reading has always been such an important part of my life. It made my childhood magical and again improved my life when I turned 40. Last year was a bit insane with the pandemic, and I read 55 books. Otherwise, I was reading 25 books a year on an average. So this year, to balance it out, I plan to read 12 books. I’m excited to participate in the TBR Challenge by Blogchatter.

My first book this year was Matthew Pollard’s “The Introvert’s Edge to Networking: Work the Room. Leverage Social Media. Develop Powerful Connections. I have reviewed it here.

I’m also excited to announce that I’m now a part of The Himalayan Book Club. My current read is the ARC of the Anatomy of Scars by Arjun Raj Gaind.

Here’s a short summary of the book –  The book opens in the year 1984 when Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated. A young boy Himmat visits his grandparents in Amritsar, and he experiences first-hand the troubles that afflict Punjab. In 2014, Himmat lives in London and is still haunted by the events of the past that he was witness to in his childhood. He is unable to form lasting relationships with people, and he is wracked with guilt, wrestling with alcoholism and substance abuse. When he returns to India due to his grandfather’s illness, he begins his journey of healing and deals with what Operation Blue star left behind. The book is based on real events and talks about the impact of the assassination of the former Prime Minister on Punjab and India today.

The book will be released on 26th January 2021.  The Kindle edition is up for pre-order at INR 99 and it will be free on Kindle Unlimited.

My Top 5 Reads of 2020 and a List of the 55 Books I Read this Year

I read 55 books this year. My top 5 reads were 1. The Silent Patient – Alex Michaelides 2. Normal People – Sally Rooney 3. Ringa Ringa Roses – Neil D’ Silva 4. Memory – Pragya Bhagat and 5. When Push Comes to Shove – Ushasi Sen Basu.

I read The Silent Patient in a few hours one evening. I couldn’t put it down. The fact that I had nightmares that night doesn’t stop me from putting it on my Top 5.

I was really engaged with ‘Normal People’. I liked the writing style and the story flowed effortlessly for me as a reader.

Ringa Ringa Roses is one of my first few horror reads and I read it during the day. It kept me turning the pages and a bonus is that I did not get nightmares.

Memory by Pragya Bhagat is a collection of poetry. I enjoyed the feminist themes the book covered and the poems as well.

When Push Comes to Shove was a detective single. It was a quick satisfying read. I enjoyed it a lot.

The other books I read this year ( in no particular order) include the following books. I’ve hyperlinked some of them to the reviews I’d written of them:

  1. How to write and sell great short stories – Linda M. James
  2. Introducing Media Studies – A Graphic Guide
  3. No Apologies – Women’s Web
  4. Don’t go away, we’ll be right back – Indu Balachandran
  5. The plot whisperer – Secrets of story structure any writer can master – Martha Alderson
  6. How to write a poem – A beginner’s guide – Sean O’Neill
  7. All the light we cannot see – Anthony Doerr
  8. Normal People – Sally Rooney
  9. Adi Shankara – Anant Pai
  10. Introducing Hinduism – A Graphic Guide – Vinay Lal
  11. How to write a novel – A beginner’s guide – Sean O Neill
  12. The high priestess never marries – Sharanya Manivannan
  13. The Bet- Anton Chekhov
  14. Virgin Seductress- J.M Jeffries
  15. Love in the time of quarantine – Siddharth Gigoo
  16. Ringa Ringa Roses – Neil D Silva
  17. Bitch Goddess for Dummies – Maya Sharma Sriram
  18. More than a memory – Pragya Bhagat
  19. Anxiety– Overcome it and live without fear- Sonali Gupta
  20. House of light – Mary Oliver
  21. Red Bird- Mary Oliver
  22. HBB Micro-Fiction Anthology – Selected Top Entries – Anamika Mishra
  23. Offer him all things – Charred, burned and cindered- Kala Krishnan Ramesh
  24. Staying Strong – 365 days a year – Demi Lovato
  25. An ode to the self- Darshana Suresh
  26. Hinduism – A very short introduction- Kim Knott
  27. The prophet- Kahlil Gibran
  28. Thank God, it’s Caturday – Various authors
  29. My NDTV days- Sanjay Pinto
  30. Status Single – Sreemoyee Piu Kundu
  31. Introducing Sartre – A graphic Guide – Philip Thody
  32. One day in October – Sudesna Ghosh
  33. Aapnu Gujarat – Sweta Papaiyawala
  34. APJ Abdul Kalam – Tripti Nainwal
  35. One night in November – Sudesna Ghosh
  36. One evening in December – Sudesna Ghosh
  37. How to be a writer- Ruskin Bond
  38. I, The Writer- Various writers
  39. When Push comes to Shove – Ushasi Sen Basu
  40. Coping with Suffering – Tomichan Matheikal
  41. Dots and Streaks – Ellora Mishra
  42. The Soul Charmer – Richa Saxena
  43. The Great Indian Anthology Express Edition Volume 2- Various Authors
  44. Steal like an artist – 10 things nobody told you about being creative – Austin Kleon
  45. The Gurukul Chronicles – Radhika Meghanathan
  46. Romancing the beat – Story structure for romance novels( How to write kissing books – book 1) – Gwen Hayes
  47. HBB Micro Fiction anthology – Selected Entries – Horror
  48. Yesterday’s Ghosts – Nikhil Pradhan
  49. Kintsugi – Anukrti Upadhyay
  50. The Collected Schizophrenias– Esme Weijun Wang
  51. City of Screams – Various Writers
  52. Magical Women – Various authors
  53. The travel gods must be crazy – Sudha Mahalingam
  54. Hiraeth – Partition stories from 1947 – Dr. Shivani Salil
  55. Resilience – Stories of Muslim Women – Shubha Menon

How many of these books have you read/enjoyed? What are your reading goals for 2021?

My Book Review of ‘Yesterday’s Ghosts’ By Nikhil Pradhan

On Halloween, I’d taken part in a Twitter chat with Blogchatter and was sent this review copy of ‘Yesterday’s Ghosts’ by Nikhil Pradhan when I’d expressed interest in reviewing it.

The book has been brought out by Harper Black, an imprint of Harper Collins Publishers. It is categorized as fiction/thriller.

The title ‘Yesterday’s Ghosts’ really caught my eye ‘coz I’m a sucker for anything to do with themes of fragmented memories, PTSD, making sense of the past, etc.

The book is about a band of men who are now in their fifties and sixties who share a secret from their time spent together thirty years ago when they were part of ‘The Black Team’. It is about military intelligence and secret agents.

I liked the format in which the story is told. The story is revealed through a Q&A (dialogue) format between the characters. Instead of simply using third-person narrative or first-person narrative ( which are both done to death), the author has experimented with this way of telling the story, which at first glance looks like a screenplay. Of course, the entire book is not in Q & A format. Some of it is indeed third-person narrative ‘coz an entire book of Q & A might have been tedious. I felt it was well-balanced and worked for me. I feel that in this format, there is more scope for use of dialogue, which can help with “Show, don’t tell.”

The characters were well-etched and interesting.

I liked one bit on page 23, where the author says “ He had a friend once, a copywriter in an advertising firm, who used to go on and on about ‘insights’, about how once you knew, no, understood what people were going through, you could sell them anything- from a needle to a refrigerator’. As someone who has worked in advertising, I can say that this is bang on! Since the author, too, has worked in advertising, in fact, in the same advertising agency as I have( although we didn’t know each other there), it is clear he is drawing from experience.

On the whole, an interesting read.

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