Anon

Blurb: Welcome to Calcutta of the sixties and the seventies. Meet Debottam, the genius vagabond son of a wealthy zamindar.  Meet Urbish, the ambitious dreamer whose father is a fisherman. Walk with them through the red earth of Shantiniketan. Visit the jazz clubs of Park Street. Experience friendship redefined by two people who have only one thing in common writing. But one is willing to kill to write and the other is willing to die. Anon. Short for Anonymous. After all what’s in a name?

About the Author: Bhavani Iyer is a screenwriter who has written several Hindi films and television shows. She lives in Mumbai with her boyfriend, three dogs and a cat. Anon. is her first novel.

Review: Bhavani Iyer is a well known screenplay writer and this is her first novel and I am read her for the first time too. The story narration is touching and poignant moments and wonderful insights into the Bengal read as the 60s and 70s Calcutta, which is made up of art and literature. It is highly recommended to all those looking for rare gems. A literary journey that takes the reader into a charmed world, where the story drips with awesome writing of the author. The best thing in this book here is a fine eye for detail and a great skill in weaving it through the story of the protagonists Deb and Urbish whose lives come together with their friendly competition. Their characters are relatable to us, as they are honestly sketched. She grabs your attention from the word go and weaves details skillfully into her narration. No assessment of her novel can be complete without complimenting the writer on her evocative style. Anon is a novel punctuated with essence of human relationships, talking beauty and ugliness of it without giving a final judgement from her side. It deserves to be read more than once, because one is likely to miss some nuances of narration and description on reading the book for the first time. She speaks through the voices of her forcefully etched characters. The author’s narrative is grouted deep in sensitivity. Anon is undeniably a love story between the author and her characters. For only the deepest and truest of emotions could have created such finely etched images of kinship, camaraderie, and enduring friendship, the author has allowed us to watch them set slowly, gradually in amber.

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Lucknow: Fire of Grace- The Story Of Its Renaissance, Revolution And The Aftermath by Amaresh Misra

About the author: Amaresh Misra is a freelance writer, historian and poet, with a doctorate in modern history from Allahabad University. He is a political columnist for the Economic and Political Weekly of India and a regular contributor to the Times of India. He is also a script-writer and director of a television serial on 1857. The contemporary photographs are by Ravi Kapoor, a prominent photo-artist who is deeply interested in architecture and heritage.

Review: Lucknow: Fire of Grace is the first full-length, historical and contemporary narrative, spanning a period of 250 years, of the Indian subcontinent’s most fascinating city-culture. In 1722, as the Mughal empire embarked on the descent to its collapse, a wazirdari arose in Awadh. Led by Mughal officers and Persian adventurers, it marked a break in world culture. Combining power, aristocracy, freedom, science and subterfuge, Awadh became India’s first modern and secular kingdom. It was the last kingdom to be annexed in 1856 and the city of Lucknow fought valiantly against the British the following year, a keystone in the Revolt of 1857. The city never recovered from its defeat, nor would it be revived after India’s independence in 1947. December 6, 1992, seemed to many the final nail in the coffin of a once magnificent culture. Very little of Awadh’s past splendor remains today, but Lucknow has struggled on, not yet entirely bereft of the things that made it one of the greatest cities in Indian history. 1857 is a bugbear and an obsession. Many Indian and European writers have lost their focus and minds while studying the event. It is a very Asiatic, indigenous event. Its true study requires the explosion of Eurocentic and hitherto established Anglo-Indian perspectives. It also requires an insight into the Urdu-Persian-Awadhi-Islam-Sanatan Dharma-Mughal-Maratha-Sikh peasant world. The task, simply, is too overwhelming. It is beyond the grasp of most of our city bred and English-speaking historians. The book gives a mnemonic shock as it redefines the Indo-Persia, Lucknowi way of beauty, politics, cuisine, fashion, architecture, money making, sensation, ‘ada’, ‘zaban’, honour and culture as authentic Indian-ness – in opposition to Hindutva, Jinnah’s two nation theory, and Nehruvian ‘pseudo’-anglicised secularism. Amaresh Misra has a passionate, overarching style. His book is about Lucknow. But he starts with comments on the coastal metros. The author Misra gets better when he plays on home ground: the Urdu, Hindi, Indo-Gangetic belt. He sees Uttar Pradesh as a zone of culture and power. So he is able to link the Babri Masjid’s demolition with Kathak and see the influence of folk culture on Hindi cinema. For Misra, Lucknow “burns with a hard gemlike flame”. This is evident from the titles of his chapters, one is called “Evenings, Gomti, Henna and the Bagghi”. The style grows too intense: “Like a dazzling gem, this catechism has served to incorporate all aspects of Lucknow life.” This kind of hyperbole is a feature of the book. Misra does well when he sets out the history of the city, the post-1857 resurgence of Urdu for example. The thrust of the book is to show the inter-relation of what may crudely be called Hindu and Muslim cultures. Is there anything which can be termed “Lucknawiyat” today? Misra refers to a subtle cultural Hindutvaisation. My view is the old Lucknow culture is dying a slow death in the fin de millennium. Misra’s book is a good tribute to a lost cause and a lost culture.

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Spicy Trail by Shipra Trivedi

About the author: Shipra Trivedi is a working mother and has a great interest in reading & writing. As a new age woman, she plays multiple roles in a single day. A family-manager at home, a team lead in the office & a writer of wee hours. She blogs at http://www.vibhuandme.com.

Book Blurb: The intent of this book is to give a brief of 26 different spices in 26 chapters. Each chapter has one spice, its attributes, history, and ayurvedic benefits. Get set go on a spicy trail!

Review: A beautifully illustrated and researched exploration of herbs and spices: their history, cultivation and uses, both familiar and forgotten. The comprehensive modern herbal lists 26 herbs in cooking, natural cosmetics, herbal remedies and other uses. Shipra’s original approach and familiarity with the spices she describes make this a book to be used, enjoyed and treasured. Whether one is wanting to use herbs, spices and learn about delicious ol’ worlde recipes and medical uses of herbs and spices then this book has it all. The book lives up to what you would expect from something that has all about spices. It is well organized, with an alphabetized list of spices and herbs. From Vinegar to cinnamon, from fennel to mustard seeds, no kitchen is complete without spices and herbs…This A-Z reference features 26 such spices and herbs with lots of information with a look inside the world of spices by someone who works with these wonders of nature every day. It is very cleverly organized book, this information is practically helpful for all. While this book is useful if you happen to already own it, if you searching for a good book on spices and herbs, I strongly suggest you pick this book. Not only does this book enable the home cook to identify what a herb or spice is all about but much more to it. Everything you need to know is here. My favorites from this book are – Zafraan, Urad, Basil, Mace, and Chillies.

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An Arranged Love by Rev. Thomas O. Scarborough

About the author: Thomas Scarborough is a Congregational minister and philosophy editor. He holds Master’s degrees from the USA and South Africa, and is journal-published in five fields: philosophy, theology, electronics, gnomonics, and organology.

Blurb: A true story. A dying wife invokes an ancient tradition of the church in Europe, naming her “replacement” before she dies. This is no ordinary replacement, but a rural African woman of royal descent. Her clan, too, has ancient traditions. The author finds himself cold starting an arranged marriage by African custom. In the “new” South Africa. A heart-warming, tumultuous tale.

Review: This book is a sure shot perfect gift idea for any one on anyone’s list, for any occasion or marriage. This beautiful book will transport you to a romantic world with its exquisite photography and lovely content. It is sweet, romantic, and sexy, too. A conversation starter for sure! The pictures will make sure everyone fall in love; and the story will inspire discussion, as well. There is something for everyone in this book, which belongs on everyone’s book collection. The story explores love in many different forms. This book is sized perfectly to fit any living space; and sits nicely on an end table. Every page has a different mood so does every picture. An Arranged love illustrates the synergy between word and image. It captures the universal experience of love, its agony and ecstasy, its profound essence and mystery, and its humor. I liked the variety & insightful photographs, wish I had the color copy. It is all about the joy, humor, & devotion that love brings. What a gift Thomas has in using pictures & story to express love. A warm and engaging presentation invoking Love in it’s diversity–brilliantly aligned in this book. Best wishes in your writings. I highly recommend your book to friends and family. Thank you so much for sharing it with me.

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The A2Z of Globetrotting by Saba Irfan

 

About the author: Mumbai based food, fashion, parenting, travel and lifestyle blogger, Saba Irfan is passionate about exploring everything about life. A mother of 3 and with knowledge of more than 6 global languages Saba is all set to conquer the world with her writing skills.

Book Blurb: A2Z of globetrotting is about the best from the various places across the globe. It takes you on an exhilarating journey across the globe with the prominent factory of these places described briefly yet covers their diversities.

Review: A brilliant collection of travel stories through ATOZ. Writing a novel is comparatively easier than writing descriptive posts on different cities since you need to show a variation in each and every chapter which Saba has successfully achieved it through this book of hers. If you ask me to pick the favorite story among this collection, it is difficult but I would still go for the following – Chandigarh, Italy, Prague, Turkey and Wonderful valleys. The book is a window to the beautiful world of many cities around the globe. After a long time I am reading something that is delightfully simple and yet so interesting. You realise cities everywhere in the world have mysteries, exceptionals and extraordinary things to explore. This book is a real treat to my senses as I love travelling. Her words, irrespective of the topic , thorough knowledge in subject matters reflects in this book that she wrote. Nothing can be as detailed yet interesting about the places all mentioned in this book. I felt the book to be anything short of captivating, so much so, that it aroused a strong desire in me to visit the places and getting a first hand, real-time experience of living in the amazing places and interacting with the residents and their beautiful culture. One can literally feel the time and space as one reads. To sum it up, I would surely recommend this book to be read and it is certainly a class apart as it exhibits the brilliance of author’s writing skills and the content covered in the book. It’s a great piece of work, and totally a treat to the soul of a traveller. Looking forward to many of your works!

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Tweeple of the Twitterverse by Sai Ramya Gundala

About the author: Ramya Gundala is a passionate writer and an electronics engineer, who crafts stories based on her day to day life. Taking time off the studies, she continues to blog frequently. She blogs at https://shortfictionrg.blogspot.in/. You can connect with her on Twitter (@amy_gundala)

Book Blurb: Tweeple of the Twitterverse, is a collection of Twitter Account Reviews of some twitter accounts. Some are popular, some are interesting, some are cute and others just a delight. This ebook is a result of one month of blogging, and is the collection of those posts.

Review: Twitter is only as good as the people you follow. Literally. If you follow no one then Twitter is absolutely pointless, and you’ll be presented with a wall of nothing every time you log in. If you follow people with nothing interesting to say, Twitter is dull and dreary.The answer, my dear Twitterati, is to follow interesting accounts. Whether they be individuals with insights to impart, brands with bags of bonuses, or any other kind of intriguing accounts which tweet things you’ll actually be interested in reading. The current book by Ramya talks about 26 twitter accounts whom she follows and strongly suggests you follow. Between them they offer a mix of frivolous fun and interesting insights, all of which will interest you to varying degrees. We have an actor – Mahesh Babu, a geek god in the form of Elon Musk, legend in the form of Gordon Ramsay, and plenty of others such as Katy Perry, J K Rowling to Quora to Zakir Khan. Ellen is is pretty down to Earth. Her tweets are likely to inspire you to better yourself and the world around you. Looking at the world from a different angle via words can put a whole new perspective on things, one such account is Quora. What do you get when you cross the philosophy of Paulo Coelho to Writely – This beautiful Twitter mashup, of course. I think this list represents a great selection of Twitter accounts everybody should follow, whether they’re a veteran or a noob. You may not appreciate all of them, but the beauty of Twitter is how quick and easy it is to follow and unfollow people. So why not give these particular accounts a try and see if their tweets appeal to your personal sensibilities.

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