I’m 71% through with ‘The Murder at Lemon Tree Grove: Iqra Investigates ( Aunty Millennial Book 1) by Andaleeb Wajid. I’ve been taking my time with this one ‘coz I’m simultaneously reading other books. I love the romance between Iqra and her husband Saad. Also, I find the book a light read so far.
Out of the blue the other day, I received a copy of ‘Inferno’ by Dante Alighieri, so I read 25 pages of it.
I bought and read my first ‘Hole’ book by Lesley Denise Biswas with illustrations by Anupama Ajinkya Apte. The story is about a grandma who has Alzheimer’s, and this serious topic is explained in such a way that little children can understand what it is. The book also shows us how in villages, sometimes people are labeled “mad” due to a poor understanding of mental health matters.
I also read ‘A Christmas tail’ by Sudesna Ghosh on Kindle Unlimited. Engaging writing, cats, and nice people make for a short story that puts a smile on one’s face. I recommend it to cat lovers! Check out my interview with the author.
I have a number of new books I’ve bought recently. Will get to them in due time and post about them after reading.
There’s so much to read; so little time! What have you been reading these days?
First, I’d like to preface this with “Never say never” to anything. A genre I don’t usually read though is dystopian fiction. I don’t usually read it ‘coz the ones I have read so far in this genre have been bleak, depressing, and have messed with my mind. I remember proclaiming a few years back that I would never read ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ by Margaret Atwood. I’d said that due to the reasons I mentioned here. But just a week ago, I was *considering* peeking at it. Which is why I say, ‘Never say never’. 😀
The Book Blogger Hop is now being hosted by Coffee Addicted Writer. Every Friday, a new question is posted for bloggers to answer during the week. The purpose of the Book Blogger Hop is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and maybe even receive some new blog followers.
This week’s question is:
Have you ever switched reading genres? If so, why?
I switch up my reading genres every now and then ‘coz else I get bored, LOL. It gets monotonous to read in the same genre. I need a palate cleanser after each book, just as one needs to smell coffee beans after spritzing on some perfume. Since I read more than one book at a time most days, this switching happens automatically. What about you? Do answer the question, too.
Rising – 30 women who changed India – a non-fiction title by Kiran Manral and published by Rupa covers the inspiring journeys of 30 Indian women from various fields who blazed a trail for others to follow. Manral has allocated a chapter for each achiever, and she has meticulously listed all her references from secondary research at the end of each chapter. A few of the achievers have been interviewed as well.
In the Introduction, Manral says, “The aim of this book is not to eulogize these powerful women or to put them on a pedestal. They probably wouldn’t care for something as pedestrian as pedestals anyway; they shine wherever they are, regardless of spotlights. The aim rather is to tell their stories, through what we know of them, from information available in the public domain or from first-hand accounts given by those who were gracious enough to spare some time to tell us about their journey.”
The women featured include Sushma Swaraj, Sheila Dikshit, M. Fathima Beevi, Mahasweta Devi, Amrita Sher-Gil, Amrita Pritam, Sonal Mansingh, Lata Mangeshkar, Anita Desai, M.S.Subbulakshmi, Harita Kaur Deol, Madhuri Dixit, Bachendri Pal, Rekha, Chhavi Rajawat, Karnam Malleswari, Shailaja Teacher, Hima Das, Naina Lal Kidwai, Shakuntala Devi, P.T.Usha, P.V.Sindhu, Ekta Kapoor, Kiran Bedi, Mary Kom, Menaka Guruswamy, Tessy Thomas, Aparna Sen, Kiran-Mazumdar Shaw and Maharani Gayatri Devi.
The first woman to be featured in the book was Sushma Swaraj – the former minister of External Affairs in the Narendra Modi-led government. She was also the former CM of Delhi and former Lok Sabha Speaker.
I was particularly inspired by the chapters on Mahasweta Devi, Amrita Pritam and Anita Desai, literary luminaries who have won major national and international awards for their pathbreaking work. Of Mahasweta Devi at the Jaipur Literary Festival, Manral says, “The speaker was Mahasweta Devi – author, iconoclast, social activist; the labels didn’t really matter.”
Of Amrita Pritam, Manral writes, “In her writings and her life, she leaves behind a legacy for women writers in India which urges them to defy social constructs and constraints, challenge them and to live and write as she did – unfettered.”
About Anita Desai, Manral writes, “With her immense body of work, she remains firmly one of the most powerful voices in post-colonial Indian writing in English.”
“Every story is replete with takeaways, lessons to be learnt, not just professionally but otherwise, too. These women have lived life on their own terms, becoming a beacon of hope to many others, women and men alike. If after learning about these inspirational women, a young girl, anywhere in the country thinks to herself, ‘That could be me! If she can do it, so can I, this book would have served its purpose,” says Manral towards the end of her Introduction.
I recommend this book to young women who aspire to follow the pathbreaking women before them who have earned a place in India’s history in the fields of politics, sports, acting, art, writing, painting etc.
What is it about writing that gets some people thinking it is an esoteric art that originates from a magical place, while others feel that anyone who can read can be a writer? I belong to the school of thought that the truth lies somewhere between these two extremes.
Good writing can be taught, and I have conducted training sessions on English grammar during my stints with several corporates, but I do believe one must have some basic pre-requisites to be able to grasp what is being said. Nothing can take the place of reading. Some writers may not be entirely on top of the nuts and bolts of English grammar. Still, due to their extensive reading, they have developed an ear for the right word, imbibed the art of crafting a good sentence and developed the ability to tell the difference between good writing and mediocre or below-average writing. Others never read but sign up for content writing courses, and, unsurprisingly, have a tough time stringing two sentences together in flawless English.
Another thing that is oft overlooked is that a good writer has to be a good thinker. Everything that he or she commits to the page must flow well. A series of sentences must flow into a paragraph, and a paragraph must convey a thought. A string of such paragraphs with varied sentences must convey the meaning that the writer intended. One must have the ability to translate ideas onto the page by using precise words. That’s the power of an array of words. I believe that a love for the language is non-negotiable. Above all, consider the audience: the reader. Business communication would entail a different vocabulary and emphasis distinct from that of a novelist.
I know so many people who think that “anybody” can get into content writing. The difference between such writers and those who are serious about their craft is as stark as night and day. And then others say they don’t get the “time to read.” For a true bibliophile, reading is like breathing. You don’t “try to make the time for it”. It is like survival. You somehow find a way to do it. True bibliophiles make the time to read, and not because they “have to” but because they “want to.” And that makes all the difference.