Quick Reviews: Funny Boy

Funny Boy: A Novel in Six Stories by Shyam Selvadurai is just that!
It is a collection of short stories that are interlinked with each other and that is what ironically makes it a novel. The six short stories seem episodic but that is deceptive and it is actually quite a fun exercise to connect the dots in each vignette as if you are putting together a jigsaw puzzle.

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The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays

Albert Camus, the celebrated French writer and pioneer of the absurd thought, began The Myth of Sisyphus and Other Essays with this dramatic opening:

“There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.”

Cheerful, right?

Well it may not be, but it immediately forces you to contemplate on the meaning of life as that opening lingers on in your mind.

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Guest Post: The Thief

Guest post by Linda Shaji-Pauline:

Linda Shaji-Pauline, a fellow feminist and a rice lover, who had an affinity for post-colonial literature but now realises that there is much more to read as well. When she’s not at work, her motto is, “will walk for food.” You can often find her walking around all over the city in search of that new restaurant. She is still undecided if she loves music or books more but agrees that together they make the best combination. Together they make her life in finance very tolerable.


I have read just one other book that was translated from Japan – The Cape and Other Stories from the Japanese Ghetto written by the acclaimed author Kenji Nakagami, which I thoroughly enjoyed.

So when I saw a copy of a book that was a translation yet again from Japan titled The Thief by Fuminori Nakamura; translated by Satoku Izumo and Stephen Coates, I jumped at it.

Was it worth my time? Yes and no – because this is a short and easy read.

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Quick Reviews: Boiled Beans on a Toast: A Play

Being from Mumbai, it is easy to be exposed to stories about the stereotypical image about the maximum city being unstoppable and novels based on that idea abound.

But a story about the realities of Bangalore?
Never had heard about that one before except one Indian Institute of Management, (IIM) novel by Karan Bajaj, Keep Off the Grass! But in the case of Keep Off the Grass, the city was just flitting in the background.
Thus, it was a surprise to come across Boiled Beans On Toast: A Play by Girish Karnad where the city comes to the forefront almost as a character in its own right.

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Mountain Echoes: Literary Festival in Thimphu, Bhutan

Tiger’s Nest Monastery located in Paro, Bhutan is the most well known tourist site in country.

Little does the rest of the world know that Bhutan also holds an international literary festival every August called Mountain Echoes!

In 2018, the dates for the festival are from 22nd to 25th August.

Find the Programme Schedule for Mountain Echoes, here!

Last year in 2017, the festival had Ruskin Bond as one of its speakers and I was thrilled to not only get to hear him and see him but to get his autograph on not one but two books, since he was kind enough, even at his age, to give us all autographs!

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Death Note

Manga craze anyone?

Death Note is quite a popular manga series written by Tsugumi Ohba and illustrated by Takeshi Obata that came out in 2003. It has often been voted as being the best manga in Japan and it has also quite a popular appeal along with a dedicated fandom worldwide.

But is it worth all the hype?

Yes! Yes! A thousand times yes!

P.S. No Spoilers Ahead.

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Blurb Appreciation Reviews

I am starting a new series on The Book Cafe called Blurb Appreciation Reviews.

What is it about?

Personally I disapprove of the current trend of having only comments from authors or newspapers at the back of book. So much so that the definition of blurb has become synonymous with that.

But one definition of a blurb is also that the back cover of the book has a short synopsis of the story.

I miss those days when the back covers would actually tell you about the book rather than what others think about it.

How do you expect me to pick up a book if all the back cover says is:

“Sensational!”

“Timeless!”

“Suspenseful!”

“Masterpiece!”

And other such gazillion, run of the mill words that can be substituted above!

 

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However, it does not mean that all books have those distasteful covers.

Through this series of Blurb Appreciation Reviews, I want to highlight books with excellent, well thought out summaries that actually show us what the book is about!

Come join The Book Cafe on a blurbful ride!

So what do you think of blurbs?

Have you come across any good blurbs recently? Share below! Comment and share!

Come do a quick blurb review for The Book Cafe!

Email with any blurby ideas at: akisabookworm@gmail.com or aakanksha_rulz@yahoo.co.in!

Sayonara!

Women in Translation (WIT) Month

August is Women In Translation (WIT) Month

Why WIT?

But why not?

On a sincere note, it is because literature like many other domains has been dominated by men. This also includes works that are translated. Not many works written by women who write in languages other than English are translated.

Even if they are translated, they may not be as widely known or popular.

This is where WIT comes in!

It is a month which helps one to know and promote female authors who are translated into English.

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Interview with Nerris Nasiri!

Charlie and the Hot Air Balloon is a children’s book by Nerris Nasiri, illustrated by Jessica White, that is sure to touch the deepest parts of the hearts of those who read it.  It is about family, love, determination, and sacrifice.

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It is soon to be made into a short film in 2019.

We at The Book Cafe had a quick chat with the author, Nerris Nasiri, himself.

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Guest Post: Weep Not, Child by  Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’

First Guest Post of the Blog:

Guest post by Linda Shaji-Pauline:

Linda Shaji-Pauline, a fellow feminist and a rice lover, who had an affinity for post-colonial literature but now realises that there is much more to read as well. When she’s not at work, her motto is, “will walk for food.” You can often find her walking around all over the city in search of that new restaurant. She is still undecided if she loves music or books more but agrees that together they make the best combination. Together they make her life in finance very tolerable.


“Fear not, read”

That is how I encouraged myself to pick up a Kenyan (notice I do not refer to this as an African) classic, Weep Not, Child.

Why? Because I thought that this work would be a cliché as it was one of first works of post colonial literature.

Also never have been a fan of “classics”. But yes, the story is rather simple, and sticks to the use of long, oft repeated themes of post colonial literature like redemption of one’s oppressed life through western education / Christian God, that colonialism was never any good at assimilating with the local population, but were merely diving cultures, etc. These themes have seeped into our imagination since pioneers like Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’ thought it was important to write about them.

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Pessoa and His Many Souls

Penguin Modern Series is a blessing as it gives you Pessoa’s wonderful poetry at such a reasonable price!

Oh, that sounded terribly like a marketing campaign. My sincerest apologies!

But, I am definitely a big fan of this Penguin Modern Series since they have such an eclectic collection of writers, some that one may not even have heard of as well!

Now, lets leave this marketing aside, and plunge right into Pessoa’s I Have More Souls Than One.

It is a collection of his poems written as different personas which then perfectly justifies the title (My apologies again, I seem to have a fetish for understanding titles of books and poems often it seems!).

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Rumtum the Sailor

Bored of all the run of the mill kiddy books that flood stores? Tired of the same old, oft repeated rhymes?

How about picking up a beautifully illustrated, Rumtum The Sailor, which tells the story of a determined sailor father who resolutely tries to reach home from an unexpected halt at a deserted island.
As he relentlessly tries to get back to his family, he is unknowingly accompanied by none other than a mischievous octopus!

Will Rumtum get back to his family in time? Read and find out!

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Catty Catty Bang Bang: Part 1

Does your heart melt when a kitten mewls at you?

Or when a cat follows you around and rubs your ankles?

Are a kitten’s paws your greatest delight?

If yes is the answer to all the above, then you are a certified cat lover!

For all fellow cat lovers, here are six great books to pick up that revolve around your favourite creature!

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Of Dogs and Walls

The Penguin Modern series presents a brilliant collection of stories from authors which you might not encounter in your everyday bestseller list. Plus it is super cheap! What more could you want?

One title from the series that I recently bought was two short stories by Yuko Tshuhima. I have never read this author before. I have heard of Yukio Mishima, but yet to read him as his books are so hard to get here! So I was excited to find this gem on an online website and its price was hard to resist even with the delivery charge!

The book uses the title of the second short story as its main title: Of Dogs and Walls.

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Birthday Wish List!

Ah to grow a year older!

But the heart is young!

And what more would a book lover want on one’s birthday than to have some more books?

So here is my current wish list or my to-read or to-borrow or to-buy books list:

The Ruined Map by Kobo Abe.

Javady Alley by Manny Shirazi.

The Emissary by Yoko Tawada

Aag Ka Darya by Qurratulain Haider

My Lesbian Experience with Loneliness by Nagata Kabi.

Poppies of Iraq by Brigitte Findakly

The Forty Rules of Love by Elif Shafak.

El Deafo by Cece Bell.

Human Acts by Han Kang

Two Brothers by Gabriel Ba.

Coraline and Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman

Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie.

Narcopolis by Jeet Thayil.

Cigarette Girl by Masahiko Matsumoto. 

Chronicles of a Death Foretold by Gabriel  Garcia Marquez.

Men Without Women by Murakami.

Aliyah: The Last Jew in the Village by Sethu.

Pachinko by Min Jin Lee.

and lastly, but never never the least:

Notes of a Crocodile by Qui Miaojin

P.S. The List is actually endless but oh well, one must control! 😛

 

Have you read any from this wish list? Let me know in the comments below!