Book – The Busyness Age
Author – Rajesh Seshadri
The Busyness Age is one of that self-help book which tells us to focus on productivity, creativity and most importantly promotes “business” world to venture into.
Seriously, it’s easy to start any business but to keep it sustained that is highly important. We should give preference to your productivity. Time management and focus on less procrastinating can help much. Personally, procrastinate is my bad habit, but after reading this book I could understand its smooth narrative. It was more like conversion than lectures.
I would recommend it all who want to venture into business.
I rate it 4/5🌟
Book – Feni Daze
Author – Matthew Vincet Menacherry
Pages – 346
Feni Daze. The title itself is so intriguing that I had to pick this book up. Scenes swapping between the past and present life of our protagonist Victor, portraying the hardship he went through as a kid and it’s aftereffect was painful. The writing style is such that it makes you enjoy and absorb all that is happening in the story. I love how deeply Victor’s character is crafted, his battles and turmoils so realistic. In fact, all the characters were well developed. There was actually a lot going on, scene after scene, subplots, which isn’t exactly messy but a bit too much was going layer after layer. Set in various locations, the description about these places was right on point. The narration was good, especially because the way it makes the readers feel about the story and the characters.
Rating – 4/5
1. Would you like to introduce yourself to your readers?
Reply: Why not…!!! Hello once again to all, especially those who have already read my book TALES FROM BENGAL. And of course, would like to request those who haven’t gone through it as yet.
2. Well, before I ask you any other question, I would like to know about your calling in writing?
Reply: I can’t remember exactly when I started writing. But yes, most probably it was the eighth standard when I got my first ever submission for the school magazine published. But the thought of getting my own book published occurred to me when one essay of mine concerned with the educational issues prevalent in India got published along with those of some eminent professors of West Bengal. And thus, began my journey with fictionalized composition.
3. If not writing books, how would you express your creativity?
Reply: It could have been through my painting or music, my guitar. Or, could have been a cricket umpire, had I not engaged myself in writing.
4. Wait, wait. Did you say cricket umpiring?
Reply: Yeah. Really, I used to officiate games at the junior and district levels. Could have gone further. But just then got appointed to the post of assistant teacher in a high school. And that was it with umpiring.
5. Ok. Now back to your book. What did you learn while writing this book?
Reply: So many things…! First and the foremost would be the fact that only plot and characters can’t help build up a story for the author. He himself has to be an integral part of it by getting involved in the settings or situations he is describing or explaining. The easiest way to do this is by visiting the scenes or backdrops he has decided to use for his purpose. He has to feel the situations with his own senses. Remember one thing, a story is not a mere conglomeration of words, rather a medium of presenting what the author thinks about a certain happening in life. So, it’s obvious that the depiction has to be full of life in it. To me, a story always has to be real, and I stick to this principle of mine. Visiting the workshops of the blacksmiths of the countryside is just one of such real things that I did while composing the story ‘Iron Irony’. In another case, I had to take note of every single detail of the behavioural traits of the stray mentally impaired persons when I had Manglu in my mind for the story ‘The Abstainer’.
6. All the stories written by you are extremely sensitive, picked from real-life yet unique. Are these stories entirely fictional or inspired from real life?
Reply: As I’ve already told you I just wanted my stories to seem real in every sense, the plots had to belong to real life. ‘Absolution’ can relate to any uneducated youth lacking proper knowledge of life. While Subal and Seema of ‘Anomaly’ are just the ones running for safety and security in life. Similarly, ‘The Abstainer’ is anyone among us without a goal in life. And of course, all the stories are drawn from the real-life experiences. The housemaid, the rickshaw-walla, the fake doctor forging an identity, all of them are real characters.
7. How do you select your characters and build them?
Reply: That I have already told you. Actually, I myself believe that the plot comes first. Then the characters. It’s true to all the stories of TALES FROM BENGAL too. First, I try and find my resources, the plots. Sometimes, two or three small plots shape up a combined larger plot. Once I am ready with the plot, I start developing it by adding characters to it.
8. Do you think a writer should have a signature writing style or should he keep experimenting with it? And why do you think so?
Reply: As for me, I do not follow any such notion. In TALES FROM BENGAL too I tried my best to keep the narrative techniques as much unique as possible. I believe typicality pushes one author into certain kind of shell that sometimes is really very hard to get over. Even in my upcoming book that also will include Bengal as one of the twin topics alongside the issues related to current trends of women psyche, I’ve tried to maintain that very aspect. Even the diction will vary from story to story. I also prefer experimentation to some extent.
9. What is your go-to genre?
Reply: Of course, short stories. I could have said that even in my dreams.
10. What is that thing about yourself that surprises you the most?
Reply: Yet to think about it this way.
11. As you’ve mentioned that your new book too is going to focus on Bengal, would you like to how it’s going to be different from TALES FROM BENGAL?
Reply: The prominent factor of the upcoming book is that it’s not going to discuss on not only Bengal but also will cast light upon the feminine psychology and the pertinent issues. Another difference would be it’s not going to be any ‘look-back-into-past’ sort of a book. I will discuss the current generation Bengal. Its politics, its intellectualism, its love, its sensuality, its trickery, and all. And of course, when you are to discuss love, affection, deceit, and repentance in your stories, won’t you include the shades of feminism in them? I think anybody would do that.
12. Any message for your readers?
Reply: I would only say: keep reading, keep learning to start writing.
Book – Tales from Bengal
Author – Sourish Roy
Tales from Bengal is a collection of short stories. Each unique in it’s own sense, yet similar to the other. Picked from the life of common Bengalis, just as urbanization and technology came knocking Bengal’s door, portraying their raw traits, the stories are threaded into this book.
It’s not a myth that people from the same regional background share similar traits and it was absolutely endearing reading about people with the sweetest tongue ! The Author has done a great job in portraying different parts and people of Bengal, yet showing how similar they are. Hats off to the authenticity of the stories !
The stories were one of a kind, mirroring the deepest human emotions, the struggles, the sacrifices, the adjustments and what not !
As much as I liked the stories, I wish the language was a bit simpler. With such usage the vocabulary, the essence was somewhat lost, making it a not-so-smooth read. Nonetheless, everything from the title, cover and the 9 stories, this book is a beautiful piece of art !
Rating – 4🌟
Book- You Beneath Your Skin
Author – Damyanti Biswas
You Beneath Your Skin is one riveting tale of gruesome crimes, deep emotions, betrayal, characters that’ll stay with you for days to come and the horrifying fact that this book is just the product of the Author’s imagination and the truth that reality is much worse than what you’re going to read.
Human trafficking, sexual abuse, drugs, acid attacks, murder and what not !
Every crime is ultimately connected to each other. The cruelty with which one person harms another is beyond imagination. Inflicting an unbearable degree of pain on one person, especially after knowing the result of such commission is barbaric !
The reality that both the abuser and the abused are the part of the same society, that we cross path with such people, that we really don’t know who is watching and might be targeting his next move on us shows how we are so unsafe and vulnerable amongst our own kinds.
The intensity of the victim and the victim’s loved ones suffering has been so intricately described that it’ll show how much effort the Author has put into writing this story. I love the fact that she has given equal attention to all the topics she has touched in this book. I admire how tastefully she has handled the relationship between an Autistic child and his mother; the portrayal of a mother’s struggle and patience and that she is the epitome of love has been has been very well executed. The Author’s narration is so solid that when she describes an acid attack victim’s pain, it draws a clear picture that the acid thrown at a person, very literally shows the intensity of grudge the abuser holds against the victim.
Alongwith with great writing, the Author has put life into the characters. I loved how the writing style and effect kept changing for each character, that was brilliant !
I highly recommend this book to everyone.
Rating – 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟/5
1. Introduce yourself for your readers.
My self image is a mess so I will give you a functional response to his one. I am Arun George, 24 Years old, born and brought up in Thrissur, Kerala. I pursued my B.A. in Communication, English and Psychology from Christ University, Bangalore, following which I pursued my M.B.A. in Finance Management from CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bangalore. I have finished 3 novels, published 2 and I have written, shot, edited and directed 11 short films to date. Now that you know what my matrimony profile will look like, I can be a little more open to the discerning viewer. First and foremost, I am a cineaste. I always identify as a filmmaker before I identify as an author. I view my writing as functional to serve the purpose of telling a cinematic story. That being said, I love writing! It is the foundational process to storytelling. Of all the processes that goes into making a film, I enjoy the writing work the most! Christopher Moore is the author who has come close to capturing my voice. J K Rowling, Dan Brown and Rick Riordan where my idols in school! A book I always love to revisit is, unsurprisingly, To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. All of its great literary achievements aside, I love it for the fact that it is the only case where the book and the film are as great as each other. A great book becoming a great screenplay becoming great cinema! For someone like me, what more can you ask for!
2. When did you find your calling in writing and filmmaking?
I have always been attracted to the art of storytelling and the impact it has on an audience. The first film I can recall watching was Predator (1987), in 1998, when I was 3 years old. The film had such an effect on me that it took me nearly a decade to process my fear of being surveilled and being alone in a forest. I started writing when I was 12, in 2007 and it mostly comprised of stories that would be crude imitations of better works, mainly cinema. I like to think of my trajectory as natural progression. In School, I had no access to cameras and therefore, I relied on writing to tell stories. In college, when I was able to get my hands on a DSLR that could shoot video in 1080p, I tried my hand at filmmaking. I have always wanted to be a storyteller. Its just that I keep changing my media back and forth!
3. If not writing books and creating movies, how would you express your creativity ?
Creativity, at least for the people who grew up with me, was defined narrowly to drawing or music or dance. I believed that I was not a terrible dancer but thanks to Dance reality shows, that misconception has been dealt with! My fine motor skills are terrible to the point that I cannot draw to save my life and my handwriting is a crime against calligraphy. The reason why I choose these two forms for expressing my creativity is because technology has enabled people like me to explore them. However, If not for these two media, I would have to say I would express my creativity via quizzes. I am reasonably knowledgeable and I do have an interest in public speaking.
4. From our earlier conversations, I remember you saying that you wrote this book for a competition and within 14 days only. Who/What inspired you to do that ? How was the experience of plotting the whole story, characters, scenes and their sequence and write a book of 261 pages ?
I am a VERY lazy individual. However I am blessed with the foolish ability to throw myself completely into something and forget about everything around me for short spans of time. This kind of drive is what has helped me pursue my interests. I began writing for NaNoWriMo, a US based writing competition where you are to write a 50,000 word novel within the span of November, at age 14. There are prizes to incentivize participants but no monetary reward at the end of it. It seemed like the ideal fools pursuit for me at the time and I failed miserably, managing to write only 15,000 words in a month. I tried the following year with a smaller concept but failed again, managing only 10,000 odd words. I gave up on it till after my schooling was done and revisited it in 2013, when I was 18 years old. I succeeded for the first time and finished my first novel in 30 days. It was absolute garbage but it was my first novel and that sense of achievement gave me a confidence boost.
My latest attempt at writing for NaNoWriMo was bogged down by my time at home and various commitments. I could only get back to college by November 15 and I constantly kept getting updates about how people were doing SO well in the competition. There was no inspiration. It was just this annoying itch of sorts to do something stupidly impossible to cap off my final year in college. So I set out to write 50,000 words in 14 days. Of course, I could only pursue such an unrealistic goal with constant support from someone and that was my partner, Brigitta Marietta Philip. It was her singular support that got me through the writing process and that’s why the book is rightfully dedicated to her.
The experience of plotting the book was rather easy. I consume a lot of cinema and I almost always have an interesting plotline bumbling about in my head. So when it came time to write this book, I wanted it to be something that was laugh out loud funny without being too serious, was an effective pageturner and would let me write some interesting action sequences. I decided on a protagonist and began writing and the scenes just seemed to have a natural progression to them, at least to me. Each chapter would be titled a pun based on what happens in it and the storyline would be set within a short period of time, around Christmas, which was my hat tip to Shane Black films. I love buddy comedies and I decided to have a darkly comedic buddy comedy. And that’s how the book was born!
5. What did you learn while writing this book ?
Even if you are broke and don’t have rent money, always try and hire a proofreader. By the time I finished designing the cover of the book and sent it to print, I had already been through the book countless times. The letters were practically swimming before my eyes and that meant that there was no chance in hell I would spot any of the grammatical errors. I wrote a majority of this book using Google Drive on my Android phone, during class hours, in college. This meant that a lot of the times, I could not look at the screen and see what I was typing, to spot the errors and I had no time at all to reread for errors after each chapter. Really gives you a newfound respect for stenographers and people who use typewriters!
6. How do you select your characters and build them ? Are they entirely fictional or do you draw inspiration from real life characters ?
My protagonists and antagonists are always varying degrees of my own self. In fact, it’s a running joke among my friends that I am incapable of writing a character that is not me. All my protagonists in all three of my novels are named Aaron George. So I decided to do something a little different in this book and that shows in the character arcs. Julia is the true protagonist of this story. Her arc is what completes everything. However, when writing that character, I wanted to ensure that I wouldn’t color her perspective with my notions. That’s why I wanted the audience to view Julia’s story through Aaron’s eyes. As for the antagonist, I wanted someone with a weakness or disability that would force people to underestimate them. I didn’t model these characters on anyone per se, but yes they are composites of a variety of traits that I keep picking up from friends and people I meet or observe.
7. Do you think a writer should have a signature writing style or should he keep experimenting with it ? And why do you think so ?
I would say to each his own. Whatever works for you, works for you and whatever doesn’t, doesn’t. Martin Scorsese is a filmmaker I admire. His body of work is so diverse that had it been made under pseudonyms, no one would be able to say that these the works of a single man. Sure there are tropes and favourite directorial techniques he goes back to but he is so accomplished in literally everything he has made that its impossible to say that the experimentation has hurt him. Using Christopher Nolan as an example borders on cliché due to the millions of “disciples” his films have garnered, but his directorial vision and style, his writing interests are more or less universal throughout his body of work. Personally, I believe that you should be consistent enough to be identifiable and unique enough to be entertaining. However, my signature style is my reliance of verbal humour, especially sarcasm and puns to cap serious situation.
8. The title of your book “A Blind Man’s Bluff” is extremely intriguing. How did you choose this title ?
The title is a mashup of a few concepts and ideas that are explored in the book. I have already declared my love for puns and the title is wordplay based on the plot, something you will understand once you read the book. The blind man, is also a key character in the book and the word ‘bluff’ has a lot of connotations, all of which work for the book’s intrigue. The other reasoning for the title is more cultural. I was born and raised in Kerala and I went to college in Bangalore. I always did feel like an outsider looking in, something that was aggravated by my reliance and preference on English to communicate with over my mother tongue, Malayalam. On the flipside, it gave me a more nuanced take on everything that happens in Kerala. During Onam, the regional festival of Kerala, there is an old tradition of blindfolding someone, then surrounding them and shoving and hitting them. I thought of how our protagonists too are blind to the forces that chase them and are forced or rather shoved to go one from spot to another. So overall, the tile checked a lot of boxes for me and I had a very clear design in mind for the cover. So the more I got into that work, the more apt this title became!
9. What is your go to genre ?
When it comes to cinema, I can very rarely pick out a singular genre that I follow. I have a strong preference for thrillers, dramas, action films and dark comedies. However, I am not a purist. I love genre-bending and most of my favourite films are either innovative with genre tropes or completely shred them to provide a new experience. I have an aversion to romance work and I try to view horror as academically as possible. With books, the genres remain the same, more or less, but again, its all about the presentation to me. If the writing is cinematic, I will read anything. I hold cinema to a much higher standard but I consume everything I can. The guilty pleasure however, is watching trashing movies. I love watching terribly made movies and having a laugh about how they would have shot it because most of my friends are the crew on my films!
10. What is that thing about yourself that surprises you the most ?
There was a point in time where I was surprised by the nature of my Self. The more I studied psychology and the more experiences I had in life, I have come to terms with the fact that I am anything I want to be or I don’t want to be. I know that’s a very vague answer, but at a deeper level, that’s what hold true for me. There is literally nothing I do, no matter how bad, that I surprises me anymore.
11. Are you planning or already working on anything new ?
I am considering a few projects at the moment, none of which are books however, Since I write shoot, edit and direct my films, it is an all encompassing, time consuming process. I try to do at least one creative stunt like this each year and hopefully, this year will not be different. Depending on how well the scenarios play out, my next project will either be a dark comedy short film or an action “entertainer” to be done with my childhood friends!
12. How has been your journey so far as an Author and Filmmaker ? Is there anything about it that you’d like to change or relive ?
I love my journey so far and I wish to change nothing. I would love to relive the first time I saw my film screened in a theatre. It was in Hyderabad in Annapurna studios for a short film competition. Another moment I would love to relive was the first time I held the first published copy of my own book in my hands. Its seared into my mind and I love to revisit those memories when I am feeling down. I have made shit films and I still cringe every time I read my first book. He reason I don’t take them down is because it’s a constant reminder of how far I have come and how much I have learned. Cringing is growth, apparently!
13. Any message for your readers ?
Feedback is the greatest thing any creator can expect from the audience. Even if you think that my book is a hate crime committed on humanity, tell me so that I know! And if you have the time, reach out to me after going through my work. I love discussions about what I create and I am always game for lengthy debates or discussions or arguments about it. So if you do happen to follow my work, reach out to me on social media or offline and I would love to hear what you think about it!
#bookreviewBook – A Blind Man’s Bluff
Author – Arun George
Pages – 261A Blind Man’s Bluff by Arun George is one amazing thriller !I’d rather not discuss the plot because any revelation would tone down the excitement this book is gonna give you ! So, to say, pick this up and you’ll be on a rollercoaster ride and kind of exhausted guessing who’s the bad man !This book will make you believe how scary can a person’s mind be. You might think you know someone really well, but what’s in their mind, what they think, is so uncertain that it’s unnerving. Because one might be confessing that they are very much in love with you, but would be plotting your end in their mind. Wicked, isn’t it ?The flow and the mystery stays throughout the story, the characters are multilayered and their minds, sick ! I really appreciate how the author never gave away the mystery and just revealed what was necessary at the moment. Although a lot of guessing is left to the readers and quite a lot of events is a bit exhausting, it’s one enjoyable read. And trust me, you’re gonna breath a sigh of relief when the book ends, but is it really the end ?Rating – 🌟🌟🌟🌟/5
1. Introduce yourself for your readers.
I am a mother and a writer, never quite figured out which comes first. Everything else is secondary.
2. When did you find your calling in writing? Did you always aspire to be a Writer ?
As far as I remember, being a writer wasn’t on my list of goals. I used to scribble in my teenage (poems and stories, without ever considering them as ‘writing’), but took care not to show those ‘creations’ to anyone. A year or so later, I would tear most of them apart because I thought they were silly. I wrote my diary daily for a few years, which also met with the same fate. I came back to writing when I was around thirty; this time I was more serious about it, and ready to call myself a writer.
3. How did you compile such unusual and unique stories ? Experience, imagination or both ?
Thank you. I am sure a bit of everything goes into what we create: who we are, where we come from, what we have been taught, what or who inspires us, what we observe around us and so on.
4. Which according to you is better in terms of writing, short stories, novella or novel ?
That’s a tough question. Each of these involves hard work and dedication. A novel may take years to finish, so it demands more effort and discipline from our side. Sometimes it gets so tiring we just want to stop and toss the whole thing away – and it is difficult to rediscover our original motivation. In that sense, a short story may be ‘easier’, because it can be finished (if we really put our heart to it) in a shorter duration. But short stories also demand hard work and discipline from the author; creating a story from nothing is not ‘easy’. There are short stories that took me years to finish.
5. Do you believe in “Among Us” ? Because I for sure am looking for one “Among us” after reading your story and of course for a “Ghost under the bed”.
I am glad to hear that!
6. Which is your favorite story from the book ?
Another tough question. Every story I write is like my baby – and a mother can’t choose one baby over another, can she??
7. Are you planning or already working on anything new ? Is it going to be a short story or a novel ?
I am working on a novel, my fourth (though only one has been published so far). However, because it is a time-consuming activity, there are days when I am inspired to write a short story. A change from routine keeps me sane.
8. Are you an avid reader yourself? What is your go to genre?
I read around 40-50 books a year. Except for romance and horror, I read anything I can get my hands on, including non-fiction. I have a long to-read list on my Goodreads that keeps growing.
9. Do you have any quirky writing habit ?
I make notes all over the place: sometimes on my phone, sometimes on my laptop, and sometimes on a random piece of paper lying around. A few days later, I go nuts trying to figure out where I had jotted down that “very important plot point”. I might find it eventually but so much time would be wasted over it. These days I try to be more careful, but am not always successful.
10. Any message for your readers ?
If you like my books, do let the world know. There is nothing like word-of-mouth publicity.
Book- Shadows of the Past
Author – Jeena R. Papaadi
Pages – 174
A wise person once said, “Coincidences do happen, that’s why they have a name.”
Shadows of the Past by Jenna R. Papaadi is a brilliant collection of short stories.
Unusual, unique, eerie, chilling and amusing.
Each short story has one thing in common, and that’s, it’s gonna leave you bewildered. Too dazed to react.
I enjoyed the uncertainty, the surprise and the shock each story offered. And I had never read anything like those stories.
It’s so hard to pick a favorite because I can still recollect how each story made me feel.
Even though the stories are really short to judge any character, but I have got to say that the characters were ‘whoa-amazing’ !
Each story had a plot that would keep you hooked, wanting more yet satisfied with the ending !
Although I loved most of the stories, there were few, which I wished had less descriptions and contained the obvious mystery, like other stories in the book. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed reading the book.
Rating – 🌟🌟🌟🌟/5