Title: The Bestseller She Wrote
Author: Ravi Subramanian
Paperback: 391 pages
Publisher: Westland (October 28th 2015)
Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US | Flipkart
He was a bestseller She wanted him to make her one.
Paperback king, Aditya Kapoor life is straight out of a modern man’s fantasy. His literary stardom is perfectly balanced by a loving wife and a spectacular career. With everything he touches turning to gold, Aditya is on a winning streak.
Shreya Kaushik is a student with a heart full of ambition. Young, beautiful and reckless, Shreya speaks her mind and obsessively chases after what she wants. And what she wants is to be a bestselling author.
What happens when their worlds collide? Is it possible to love two people at the same time? Can real ambition come in the way of blind passion? Can trust once broken, be regained?
Master storyteller Ravi Subramanian, delves into the glitzy world of bestsellers and uncovers a risky dalliance between a superstar novelist and his alluring protege.
The Bestseller She Wrote is a combustible cocktail of love, betrayal and redemption.
Note: Thanks BlogAdda and Ravi Subramanian for offering me this book to read and review
Cover: Bright and Conspicuous
Paper and font: Easy on the eyes!
Readability, language: Easy on the mind!
Why did I choose this book: I was offered this book by Blogadda. Since this was a deviation from Subramanian’s standard writing fare, it caught my fancy.
Shreya wants to be a bestselling author and she will do anything it takes to get that, even destroy a marriage as she comes between Maya and Aditya. But will Bestselling Author Aditya Kapoor be used and abused or can he save his marriage. Shreya can get all she wants without this destruction so why is she doing this? The answers the climax. 😉
The end justifies the title; it’s appropriate and it caught my interest. The cover is bright and conspicuous, it’s one you can’t ignore. As for the blurb, it’s succinct and simple.
I haven’t come across a plot quite like this one before, a story of blind ambition and it’s repercussions, while also dealing with betrayal. At a lot of points I found myself thinking I knew what would come next but Subramanian surprised me repeatedly.
Set in present day Mumbai, the author has woven the city well in his story and the city is always present in the shadows. He has also woven in a lot of pot-shots and truths about the publishing industry. There were a lot of places where I found myself laughing when I made the connection to real life and many a place I was shaking my head at the sad publishing truths.
The book has a large character set, but they all play important roles in the story and take it forward. Aditya, Maya and Shreya are sketched well. I found myself doing exactly what the author wanted, feeling for Maya, hating Shreya while admiring her guts and feeling both love and hate for Aditya. The only character who left me disturbed was Sanjay, his involvement has me still confused; I can’t find them but there seem to be loose-ends there.
The story is well laid out, though the pace slows down a bit and gets draggy toward the end. Almost as if the author was implementing his advice from the book on words per book. The story builds up well toward the climax and takes you by surprise. All loops are tied up though the Sanjay threads are a little twisted and knotted up for me, his plot didn’t sit too well in the jigsaw for me.
I enjoyed Subramanian’s style of writing, his snide remarks and tongue-in-cheek sense of humour. His Hinglish (which I particularly loved) is simple and easy to read and I didn’t once have to reach out for a dictionary, which was refreshingly nice!
Not just a story of blind ambition and betrayal, The Bestseller She Wrote is also the current state of India’s publishing industry – from author antics to emotional blackmail, Facebook fiascos to newspaper scandals, anything goes and it’s all in the book. For YA and above. Recommended if you are looking for a fast mindless read!
About the Author:
Ravi Subramanian is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and author of seven previous commercial novels. Having been a banker himself, he has a unique insight into the industry he writes about.
Ravi lives in Mumbai with his wife, Dharini and daughter Anusha.
😛 Compulsory Text: I am reviewing ‘The Bestseller She Wrote’ by Ravi Subramanian as a part of the biggest Book Review Program for Indian Bloggers. Participate now to get free books!
December 29, 2015 No Comments
Buddha – The Wise One
11 Sept. 2004 – 22 Dec. 2015
Che and I decided early in our relationship not to have babies but like a lot of other parents we landed up with an unplanned baby. Unplanned she may have been but she was never unwanted, and we enjoyed her so much, we had 5 more in 5 years. Yep, we’re really bad at family planning. 😉
Two nights ago I lost my first born, my oldest son. Words seem inadequate to describe what I am feeling. There is a blankness, a numbness, an emptiness that is yet to set-in that I know will leave behind a void never to be filled.
Buddha came into our lives late in his and our lives, he was 6 then. I still remember that day when Che looked at me with puppy-eyes and asked if we could bring home another dog. I remember telling him that I’d first like to see the dog.
So, Che whisked me off to Windward Kennels to get me to meet the dog he was already in love with; to convince me to take him home. I still remember my first impression of Buddha – a timid dog who took time to warm up to strangers, a guy who rather be left alone than be in the thick of things and yet so beautiful both inside and out.
I thought he would be easy, a cake walk for me that would also be an excellent calming influence on the two young nut-cracks we had. I was proven so wrong!
As the months rolled by Buddha transformed, he still retained his quiet introspective self but he also started to display a boisterous self who joined in the games, the play, the charges to the door and the barking howling matches.
He came into his own and stopped backing off, he started to take dogs head-on. Clear about what he wanted, what he liked and disliked, he now didn’t hesitate to put the dogs in their place. And as the months rolled by I fell in love with him, more and then some more.
Buddha was a dog no one who met him would forget. He made an impression, an impression all his own, an imprint unique to just him. But he had his quirks – he was terrified of crackers and loud noises, had a dislike for too much excitement, pee’d slow and long, and had a mouth so foul-smelling that you’d never forget a kiss from him, that is if you hadn’t died of the aroma. 😀
A couple of years ago when he had been diagnosed with an enlarged heart and arthritis, I started to worry but Buddha’s love for life made the problems look like they didn’t exist. He fought his way through it all with help from various people who loved him and stayed active right up to the end.
When his heart started to act up a couple of weeks ago, he valiantly held on while I fretted. He loved his walks and demanded them, and I, had to give in and take him in spite of my misgivings. On his last day, he walked well, ate heartily, showered me with time and attention and refused to leave my side.
And when he went, he went just as quietly as he had come in 5 years ago. A gentle presence by my side that slipped away before I knew it. He gave us 5 glorious years that we will relive forever. He was Buddha, through and though, aptly named for he had learned all the secrets of the universe and he held them all in himself.
I lost a son two nights ago, my oldest, the first born and I will never be whole again. I’m not a mother of human babies and I don’t know the pain of losing a child but what I do know is that words aren’t enough to describe my grief, no balm is soothing enough for this chasm I have in my heart, no amount of tears can wash away this pain I am feeling.
You will be missed Buddha and yet I know you will always be with me, as that little hole in my heart that will be filled again only when we are reunited. Run free my child, I hope you get your very own hammock up there. xxx
That should have been the end of this monologue but there are people I must thank for him and his life before I close. Preeti – a big thank you for sharing Buddha with us, Devisri – for kicking me into getting his diet right, Dr. Pavan, Dr. Ramesh, Dr. Ajitesh & Dr. Girish at Cessna Lifeline and Dr. Shiv Prasad his homeopathy doctor with the magic sugar pills – for keeping him medically healthy, and the brat pack for keeping him happy. Special thanks to Anithra, Chaitanya and Mom & Nanisaheb for being there always, even at the end and for his first toast.
December 24, 2015 4 Comments
Title: The Starriest Summer
Author: Adelle Yeung
Paperback: 377 pages
Publisher: Indigo Platinum Press (December 1st 2015)
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Contemporary
Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US
Fifteen-year-old Michelle saves the world on a daily basis…with her trusty video game controller, of course! Naturally, she jumps at the chance to play an experimental virtual reality game.
The beautiful fantasy world of Starrs? Check. The power to mold matter? Check. No reset button? Wait, she didn’t sign up for this!
Turns out Starrs is really real, and to make matters worse, Michelle’s interference awakens the Cycle of the Six Moons, a series of devastating trials that will devour the universe.
Fighting the apocalypse was way easier when danger stayed on the other side of the screen, but Michelle finds a secret weapon in her new-found powers. She uses them to rescue the crown prince of a powerful magic kingdom from their sworn enemies, a technologically-advanced cult that strives to eradicate magical blood.
Michelle starts to fall for Prince Jayse, the only one who believes Michelle to be a savior rather than a curse. But not even video games could prepare her for what the cult has in store for them…
Paper and font: Easy on the eyes!
Readability, language: Simple on the mind.
Why did I choose this book: I love watching Che play story based video games, so a book based on getting sucked into a game just had to be read!
Michelle gets pulled into a different world when she starts to play a virtual reality game. Only this isn’t a game but is real and Michelle’s arriving in this world has set of a chain of events that could end the world. She has to team up and save the world.
The title The Starriest Summer is appropriate considering the book is predominantly set in the Starrs world. The cover is attractive and caught my eye. I couldn’t make much sense of the characters on the cover initially but looking at the cover after completing the book makes it all clear. The blurb is enticing and got me interested.
I’ve never come across a plot like this before so it was a refreshing find. I really like the idea of falling into a video game and becoming an actual part of the game. The plot is clear, as in Michelle has to save the Starrs World but the whole thing about the Cycle of the Six Moons was complicated and I’m still confused about it.
The world of Starrs has been created well and I found it very believable. Yeung’s descriptions of the terrain made it easy to visualise the world as I read the book. It almost felt like watching someone play a story-based video game.
The main character is Michelle but she is supported by a bunch of primary, secondary and tertiary characters. The characters are well fleshed out and described rather in detail too but somehow some things just felt odd for me in my head. Some characteristics and even clothes just didn’t suit the characters I had drawn up in my head. That said, I must add that Michelle felt real with her fears and hang-ups. Getting pulled into the game doesn’t make her a superhero and I liked that.
The story follows a three act structure and is split into 3 parts, with the conflict clear in the first few pages. The flow of the story is good and so is the pace, I found myself wanting to read constantly to know what would happen next. But the pace is also constant and there is no build up to climax, it doesn’t feel like a climax, but that might be because it is to be a series?
The language used is simple and easy to read but I think the book could have done with one more proofread. I found quite a few grammatical errors and missing letters. At some points it just felt very childish too, the dialogues were just too cheesy, even if said by teenagers.
Overall I enjoyed the book and definitely recommend it if you are a Young Adult and into video games and that kind of fantasy.
About the Author:
Adelle Yeung is the author of The Cycle of the Six Moons trilogy, a young adult fantasy adventure. She is also a voice-over artist who can’t go a day without a cup of tea. When she’s not writing or recording, she enjoys sewing costumes, baking sweets, and escaping on video game adventures.
She lives in California with a cat that dreams of eating the pet bird.
December 18, 2015 3 Comments
Indian Reads… #1: Talking with Nina Sengupta about her book ‘Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville’
This is a whole bunch of firsts, my first author interview, my first colouring book, the first colouring book from India,.. to name a few.
I set out with a lot of nervousness, I’d never interviewed someone before and this was to be over a telephone call. And what after the interview, I’ve not ever used editing software, how was I going to finish this. But baby steps I told myself and the result was so much fun.
I’ve enjoyed this so much I think I’m going to this again. Putting together questions, talking to Nina about her book and publishing experience, learning iMovie and actually using it, was an adventure and here’s the result.
Please do give it a listen and tell me what you think in comments?
In this interview Nina talks about –
– her life in Auroville
– why she choose the theme of weeds
– creating a colouring book
– her journey from an idea to publication
– themes and next books in the series
You can buy Nina’s book at www.Auroville.com
December 10, 2015 4 Comments
Title: Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville
Author: Nina Sengupta
Paperback: 44 pages
Publisher: SAIIER (2015)
Buy On: Auroville.com
With all the talk going on about colouring books and their benefits for adults, I just had to get one for myself, so when I came across Nina’s book I jumped at it. It also helped that it’s topic was of interest to me.
Published by SAIIER or Sri Aurobindo International Institute of Educational Research the ‘Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville’ by Nina Sengupta is my first taste of an adult colouring book. (The book though states on the cover that it’s a collection of botanical drawings both for adults and young.)
The cover is made of rich red textured paper that feels good and holds well when handing the book. The front cover has a simple illustration that stands out for its ease on the eye and yet it’s whiteness immediately invites you to colour in. The back cover lists some of the benefits of colouring books and gives an introduction to why Sengupta put together this book. It also states that this is likely to be the first colouring book from India.
The size of a large note book ‘Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville’ has 22 pages that include 40 drawings to colour in. The drawing pages are smooth and a pristine white that helps in showing off colours as they are. The book is hand-bound neatly and that adds a certain character to the book. It also helps the book open and spread well for colouring.
The theme of this book which is part one in a tri-series is edible weeds and plants around around Auroville. The illustrations are botanical drawings drawn to scale with the scales included in the images. The botanical name and various other common names are listed at the bottom of each page. Sengupta says she has been slightly partial to lesser known plants in her choosing for this book; I agree for there were just a couple that I knew but that leaves a lot of new ones to learn about.
Instructions for use listed at the beginning of the book talks about the plants, their details, scales, uses, etc. There is some colouring help given but I’d have liked to know more about painting mediums that could have been used. The paper seems thick though and the kind you could use water colours on but I’ve only used colour pencils until now. No idea what would happen with alcohol based markers. The coloured insert included with the book at the end gives visual cues if you want to see what the actual colours are, it also gives more details about the plant and it’s uses.
The drawings are well laid out one on each page with a lot of white space around. There is also a mix of the easy and the intricate in each drawing that makes for some challenge but isn’t daunting. As a collection of edible weeds this isn’t just a colouring book but also resource to be kept handy for garden enthusiasts.
Since this book is at it’s core a colouring book and it’s my first colouring book, I was very interested to see how the relaxation bit would pan out. As a study and to make the book a collectible for me, I decided to ask friends to colour a page each. I talked with them as they coloured about their choices of colour, method and how they felt.
I’ve gotten three friends until now to sit down and colour a page each. Interestingly all three choose to ignore the colour insert and used colours of their own choice. Two out of three were parents with some recent experience of colouring but even the single one who hadn’t coloured in ages tried out colour combinations and shading. And each one of them attested to the fun they had and the relaxation they felt after they were done. I coloured in one page myself and can now vouch for all those feelings too.
In summary, ‘Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville’ by Nina Sengupta is a worthy buy, not only for the hours of fun and relaxation you’ll get while colouring but also for the knowledge and resources given in the book for future reference. I’m looking forward to the next book in the series.
Click here to buy a copy of Nina Sengupta’s Edible Weeds and Naturally Growing Plants in Auroville.
Note: Since this was the first time ever that I was reviewing a colouring book, I sought inspiration and guidance through Google and found Lucy’s blog which was so helpful. If you like colouring books please do check out Colouring In The Midst of Madness for more reviews and insight into how Lucy uses colouring books and craft to help her cope with her severe anxiety disorder.
My Interview with Nina Sengupta
In the interview Nina talks about her book, her journey from an idea to being published, her love for weeds, and more.
December 1, 2015 No Comments
Title: The Girl and the Clockwork Conspiracy
Author: Nikki McCormack
Paperback: 213 pages
Publisher: Elysium Books (September 14th 2015)
Genre: Young Adult, Steampunk, Fantasy
Buy On: Amazon India | Amazon US
Maeko hasn’t been long away from the gritty London streets and she’s already learning that her new “civilized” life comes with its own challenges. She has to dress proper, eat proper and be a proper lady. She can’t even talk to a boy without a chaperone. She’s got proper coming out of her ears. If not for her feline companion Macak, she might go mad.
Her one hope for some freedom and excitement comes when the moody detective, Em, asks her to be an apprentice. But that apprenticeship comes with a price. She must agree to spy on Macak’s owner, Lucian, the wealthy businessman and inventor whose life she saved.
Everything changes when Lucian’s brother dies in an explosion while visiting Lucian’s home in the heart of London. The Literati–a powerful group vying for political control of London–say it was murder and Maeko is on their suspect list. With Macak at her side, she must turn once more to her allies, Chaff and Ash. They will have to brave city streets torn by rebellion and conspiracy to find the truth.
Cover: Provokes Curiosity…
Paper and font: Easy on the eyes!
Readability, language: Easy on the Mind.
Why did I choose this book: I’ve been coming across the term steam-punk a lot these days but had not read a book in that genre. I jumped at the chance when this book came up.
This is book 2 of the Clockwork Enterprises series and continues from where book 1 left-off. This isn’t a stand alone. The story continues as Maeko tries to extricate herself (but only manages to get involved deeper) from the events unfolding as various factions fight for power and balance in the city of London.
The title ‘The Girl and The Clockwork Conspiracy’ is appropriate and explains itself as the story unfolds. It is also a good follow-up to the first book’s title and connected well to the series title. The cover is well made and is what first got me curious about the book. The blurb also captured my interest.
I felt the plot was new and unique but then this is the first ever steampunk book I’ve read. The plot seems well laid out, with various levels explored in the book, politics, personal, societal,… the conflicts in each of these clear and distinct in the book. McCormack has built in many twists and sub-plots but each of them adds to the story.
The story is set in Victorian London in the 1800’s and as I read the book in my head I relived the urchins of Dickens and the prettily dressed ladies of Heyer as they walked down the streets of London along-side coaches and hansoms. McCormack has done a good job of describing the places, lifestyle and people of the era.
The main character of the book is Maeko, a street rat with oriental ancestry and a penchant for trouble. I found myself associating with Maeko so much that mid-book onwards I found myself rooting for her. She comes across as the endearing smart-ass. Then there is Chaff who I can’t help but have the hots for and the scenes between Maeko and Chaff, well let’s just say… Steamy! To add to this triangle is Ash, the cute boy next door. There are also a bunch of other characters who help the story along.
In book one somehow I didn’t connect much with the story or the characters, for that matter I had trouble finishing the book but in book two the characters grew on me and I started to enjoy the story. McCormack’s writing seems to get better as the books roll along and at the end of this book I found myself wishing I could read part 3 right away.
The story gets tighter in book 2, the characters more defined and the pace and build-up stronger. That said I did feel the climax came out of the blue, almost as if McCormack wanted to end the book and just jumped into the climax scene. I also felt the story didn’t close neatly, there was too much left out for book 3.
Over all I enjoyed The Girl and The Clockwork Conspiracy and would definitely recommend it if you are into Steampunk and Romance. The books 1 & 2 don’t have any explicit scenes but there is enough I think to classify it Upper YA and above. There is also promise of more steamy scenes in future books.
I for one, I’m definitely looking forward to book 3. 😉
About the Author:
Nikki started writing her first novel at the age of 12. She lives in the magnificent Pacific Northwest tending to her husband and three cats suffering varying stages of neurosis. She feeds her imagination by sitting on the ocean in her kayak gazing out across the never-ending water or hanging from a rope in a cave, embraced by darkness and the sound of dripping water. Nikki finds peace through practicing iaido or shooting her longbow.
November 17, 2015 No Comments
“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?” – Satchel Paige
That’s a quote that been on my mind, even days after I first saw it. It keeps coming back to the fore and setting me off down memory lane.
When I first saw the quote I quickly travelled down the years and found I couldn’t freeze on an age. But the fact that I couldn’t was somewhat perplexing. Most people when asked this question would have a time and age when they were most happy, a time and age they would like to live in forever.
So why then could I not find an age. It’s not like I’ve lived a fairy tale life with no troubles and trauma. Actually looking back, there had been a lot of that.
Toddlerhood had seen me abused, school life had been lonely, college was when I lost my father, work life had been boring, married life is challenging… Every decade has something sorrowful that stands out like sore thumb but that isn’t why I can’t choose an age.
For each of those sorrowful incidents there have been many happy moments. I’m not making a list here for it is lengthy, I’m going to let my saying there are tons suffice. In every decade I had fun, I enjoyed life (though it didn’t always seem so at that time). I’ve had my fair share of not so fine moments but I can’t remember a time when there were only fine moments.
So if I had to choose an age it would be ‘now’. The current me, my life right now.
But that isn’t entirely what that quote is about, is it. Another interpretation would reference the number-game for me. Of thinking beyond the binds of civilisation and invention. Of seeing the world beyond how it’s been defined for our boxed-in vision, the world as we know it.
Age after all is just a number, an invention of the guys who developed numerals, the ones who decided how many seconds made a minute, how many days made a month, how many years made a decade,…
Numbers are just that – an invention – a figment of some guys imagination. And he could have imagined it all different, you know. What if in all their inventing, they had made 5=35? Then, I’d be 5 years old today. And maybe that’s my true age. 😀
It doesn’t end there though, coz there’s one more thought I have about the quote and this one involves memory loss. If I lost my memory with no one who knows me around, how old would I think I was. A look at my hair would place me closer to 50 and my skin and body would maybe be early thirties. But my heart, my heart would belong in the twenties, that time when I was all about self-discovery. [Not that I’m not now 😀 ]
So, how old are you? What’s your true age? And what’s your interpretation of the quote? 😉
November 11, 2015 No Comments
This weekend I’m off to Mumbai to attend the Indiblogger, BNLF event. BNLF which stands for Blog Now and Live Forever is a one of a kind event being organised for the first time in India and I’m all excited to attend.
Years from now when we look back at blogging and it’s history in India, it’ll be cool to boast about the fact that I was there at the first big blogging event. Hey, I do like boasting a bit. But aside from that I’m also looking forward to meeting a lot of old friends and making some new ones.
I’ve got to start packing once I’m done here, yep I know it’s early considering I leave early morning on Saturday and I still have one more day tomorrow but don’t even talk or think of tomorrow, it’s going to be a crazy day with me running around getting things done and organising & instructing for when I’m gone [the control freak me, doesn’t give up easily 😀 ].
So while I printout my passes and make notes on the agenda, here’s some of what is expected at BNLF.
There’s going to be two packed days of talks and discussions with some very interesting speakers. The line up includes Blog Coach – Jeff Bullas, Video Blogger – Kanan Gill, Author – Preeti Shenoy, Blogger – Purba Ray, Blogger – Arnab Ray, Marketer – Christoph Trappe, Blogger – Anshul Tiwari and last the icing on the cake, Bruce Dickinson – Lead singer Iron Maiden.
I’m looking forward to some of the sessions as they sound very promising and I’m hoping to learn some new tips and tricks.
Day 1 covers public relations for a blogger, life changing capabilities of blogging, telling authentic stories, public opinion and bloggers, creating videos, tips for global blogging success, blogging to book and turning readers into fans. Phew! thats a lot!
But there’s more on day 2 – an entire session on authentic stories, creating them and moving away from traditional marketing with Christoph Trappe, followed by 7 steps to master blogging by Jeff Bullas. Day two doesn’t have a lot of speakers but it looks packed!
In-between this there is also be a backstage party on 31st after the day is done and it’s invite only but I get to go coz all IndiCrew members get access. (IndiCrew is a volunteer bunch who help with the back-end stuff).
Apart from all that, the Indiblogger guys say there will also be “an authentic Mexican restaurant on wheels, a Master Class on Italian cuisine, a wall to climb, some smoking hot rides and a whole lot more”.
This weekend is going to be fun. I’ll tell you all about it once it’s done but you can also follow updates from me on Twitter – @Freya3377.
That’s it from me this week… I’m off to wrap-up and pack…
October 30, 2015 No Comments
Title: Palm’s foster home for peculiar stories
Author: C G Salamander
Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: Jellyfish Publications (April 2nd 2015)
Genre: Fiction, Short-stories
Buy On: Amazon India | FlipKart
NIGEL THE LAST BRIT IN INDIA
There is chaos and pandemonium in the streets of Madras, and it is up to Nigel (an officer of the Imperial Police) to restore order to the city… only he hasn’t quite learned about India’s Independence. Yet.
GAYATRI AND THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY VEGETABLES
When the newest and most successful religion (Cabbagism) threatens to bring about the destruction of the world, it is up to a melancholic zombie and a collection of rowdy farm animals to save the earth.
ALIENS, DINOSAURS, PORCUPINES
A porcupine, after setting out on a journey away from home, falls in love with an armadillo.
Note: Thanks C G Salamander for offering me this book to read and review
Cover: Fascinatingly Peculiar
Paper and font: Ebony on Ivory with a lovely smell!
Readability, language: Relatively easy but with definite presence of big words
Why did I choose this book: After reading the blurb, I just couldn’t say no, my curiosity got the better of me!
A collection of short stories in three parts with some stories tying in with others to make a grander plot. These are stories about Nigel, the Brit who has forgotten that the British left, a chicken who teams up with zombies to fight Cabbagism and the love story of a porcupine and an armadillo. Any more would give the stories away.:)
The title ‘Palm’s foster home for peculiar stories’ I realised as I read the book was bang on, for these are peculiar stories indeed! The cover immediately caught my eye (it played a big role in my saying yes), I like the colours used and texture of the cover adds to the experience. The blurb is short but captivating.
Do you see the texture?
The book is split into three parts with part 1 and 2 having a plot to the collection of stories. Part 3 felt like just a collection of stories with no common thread. The plots are unique and mind-boggling, and I was left mind-fucked (for want of a better word) at the end of each part. Salamander’s imagination is something else.
Part 1 is set in Madras, a little after Independence and Part 2 culminates at Eden Garden’s Kolkata. Salamander uses his backdrops well and they help the story along and add to it. The end of part 2 felt like I was there at Eden Garden’s.
The collection has a plethora of characters, all fantastical and fascinating. Sometimes the characters appeared in such quick succession that I’d get a bit confused and but by the end of each collection I kind figured them out. Salamander does’t forget or lose any or his characters, they all get accounted for.
The story structure in part 1 and 2 are complex, like a little jigsaw, only this one is in 3D and it is only at the end that it all comes into focus. I took really long to read this book, one reason was life but the other was the complexity. I had to go back quite a few times to pick up threads I lost. Maybe reading the book in one sitting would have helped, maybe.
Salamander through the book moves between persons in speech. The author has a good hold over english language and makes you have to reach out for a dictionary quite a few times. I missed my Kindle Dictionary feature so much as I read this book. But that said he also spins words and puns well to create images you see as you read. I enjoyed his writing style, more so because there was a definite Terry Pratchett feel to his writing.
A good book if you are looking for ‘mindful reading’, this isn’t a ‘leave your brains at home’ book. A enjoyed the first two parts, (my favourite being Nigel the Last Brit) and recommend you give this book a read!
About the Author:
C. G. Salamander is a fiction writer and a story teller, his short stories and comics have been published in various short story anthologies and journals. Palms Foster Home for Peculiar Stories is his first book.
Q & A with C. G. Salamander
After reading your book I understand the peculiar stories bit of your title and your love for puns. But why did you choose ‘Palm’s’ foster home? I missed that. 😀
C. G. S: The meaning behind ‘Palm’s Foster Home’ is double fold: when I was small I used to scribble down stories on my hand during class, and I ended up loosing a lot of my characters this way (the ink would disappear by the time I got home). So I guess I imagined my palm as a sort of asylum where all my stories continue to live. The second reason is because of this show called ‘Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends’ that used to play on Cartoon Network — this was a show that really resonated with me, and naming my book ‘Palm’s Foster Home for Peculiar Stories’ just felt right. But you’re right though, there’s nothing in then book to hint this out.
In part 1 and 2 there is a thread running through the stories. They all connect. I couldn’t find any connect in part 3. Did I miss something?
C. G. S: You’re right once again, Part 1 and 2 have an overall arc, while part 3 is actually a collection of standalone stories. You didn’t miss anything.
What inspired these stories? How long have you been creating this collection? Which authors inspired you?
C. G. S: To be completely frank, I’m not entirely sure what inspired these stories. It took me about 4 to 6 months to write all the stories in this collection, and about 2 mounts to tweak and fiddle with them. As for the authors that inspired me, well the list is endless, but the ones that deserve special mentions are Margaret Atwood who taught me how to wrap things up neatly; Salman Rushdie for introducing me to colloquialisms and Indainspeak, and of course Terry Pratchett who taught me everything else.
Which is your favourite story/character in the book? Which story did you enjoy writing the most?
C. G. S: My favourite story is ‘The Fertile Octogenarian’ (which incidentally most people aren’t too fond of.)
My favourite characters are Gayatri, Mary Beth, and the Disciple Bob — if I had to pick one, I’d say Mary Beth (Gayatri being a close second).
And the story that I enjoyed writing the most is definitely ‘Nigel the Last Brit in India’. I enjoyed myself far too much with that story.
Would you tell us a little about your last name – Salamander? What does C G stand for? Why did you choose it? Maybe a little something no one yet knows about you?
C. G. S: The reason I chose C G Salamander as my pen name is because the Latin or scientific name for a Chinese Giant Salamander (that’s what the C G Stands for) is Andrias Davidianus, which is extremely close to my real name (50 points if you guess it; hint: it’s not Rumpelstiltskin).
Something that no one knows about me? Hmmm… I’m actually super into writing bad poetry.
My neighbour’s curtains are brownish yellow
He really is a gruesome fellow,
He uses them to wipe his mouth
His neck, his stomach, and parts down south.
October 27, 2015 No Comments