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The Collected Schizophrenias by Esme Weijun Wang - A Book Review

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My Book Review of 'Bitch Goddess for Dummies'

Recently, I attended a zoom session on chick lit by the Chennai Lockdown Literary Festival (CLLF). In the session, one of the speakers was Maya Sharma Sriram. I was so impressed with the way she conducted the session and answered the questions that I decided to pick up her chick lit novel, ‘Bitch Goddess for Dummies’ brought out by Rupa Publications in 2012. And I was not disappointed. I’m not sure if I was biased toward the book by the personality I had seen on zoom or not, but I quite enjoy chick lit and have read several chick lit novels in my thirties.So the novel is about a 27-year-old woman Mira Iyer who decides to transform her personality from good girl to ‘bitch goddess’ to deal with the people in her life. Her mom who is constantly trying to fix her up with some eligible guy so that she can get married and Sanya, the real office bitch who is always cosying up to their bosses and vying for a promotion, are just two of the people in her life causing her angst. So it’s goodbye …

Review of 'Magical Women'

I bought Magical Women by Hachette India on Kindle a few days back. It had been on my TBR for a long time. However, I hadn’t read up on what kind of a collection of stories the book would contain. People who like weird stories, horror, dystopia and sci-fi might enjoy this collection, which has been edited by Sukanya Venkatraghavan. It was published in 2019.The editor’s note states, “Each story in this collection is unique in its representation of what it means to be magical.”It may not be everyone’s cup of tea. The book is well written, but some of the themes are a bit disturbing. The first story “ Gul” by Shreya Ila Anasuya has themes of lesbianism. The second story “ Gandaberunda” by S.V. Sujatha is violent and macabre. When I read the third story, ‘Rulebook for Creating a Universe’ by Tashan Mehta, I felt that although I was reading English, I was seeing Greek and Latin. It went totally above my head.I really enjoyed the fourth story ‘The Demon Hunter’s Dilemma’ by Samhita Arni. It…

Love in the time of quarantine by Siddhartha Gigoo

I’d won a coupon to buy this book from Amazon in a contest conducted by @NewAsianWriting on Twitter. @NewAsianWriting also requested me to review the book.The author Siddhartha Gigoo wrote the short novella of 58 pages in 21 days. It is a poetic description of two lovers who are separated during the lockdown. Their musings are interspersed with the story of a homeless family and the confusion that the children of that family face at some of the events that take place.The structure and format of the book is a little confusing since it switches from the point of view of the lovers to the perspective of the homeless family. The lovers’ musings are recorded once in the morning and once at night through a stanza for every one of the thirty days.  In between, the homeless family’s confusion is described, too. One has to read it more than once to grasp the story.The author highlights how the lovers are privileged to be able to think of their love and separation rather than worry about basic …

Happy International Book Day

Book Review of 'Resilience: Stories of Muslim Women'

I read ‘Resilience: Stories of Muslim Women’ by Shubha Menon recently. The author, who belongs to one of my writing groups, requested a review of the book and also sent me a review copy. The foreword is by Syeda Hameed. Syeda Hameed established the Muslim Women’s Forum in 2001.
The author, Shubha Menon, has documented the life of Muslim girls and women of Nizamuddin Basti in Delhi. She discusses the origin of the basti, how it became a magnet for displaced Muslims and goes on to outline “scenes from the medieval ages” in the basti. Sordid realities such as the practice of halala and mutah are discussed, which are used to terrorise women.
The author shares the story of Farida, who has five sisters. By the time Farida was sixteen, she was a mother of two and abandoned.  She had been only accorded the status of a domestic servant. Her husband had cruelly divorced her saying “ Log teen bar talaq datein hain, mein tumhein hazaar baar talaq deta hoon.” After a few years, he had the gall to wa…

Hiraeth – Partition stories from 1947

This book ‘Hiraeth’ (Partition Stories from 1947) was sent to me for review by ArtoonsInn Room 9 publications, after my interaction with the author Dr. Shivani Salil on Twitter. I have previously ‘Liked’ the ArtoonsInn page on Facebook and the ‘Room 9 Publications by Artoonsinn’ page also on Facebook. I’m a member of the Artoons Facebook Group.
I learn that Dr. Shivani Salil, MD., is a Mumbaiite who always wanted to become a doctor but who was also interested in literature. She belongs to a family of refugees, for whom “the place they called home was not just a geographical zone, but an emotion.” This is her first book.
The book is inspired by true events. It is a slim volume of only 143 pages.
The book has 24 stories, each named after an Urdu word. The English translation of the Urdu words is also helpfully provided.
The titular story Hiraeth( Longing) is about a little girl Paro who is facing the pain of partition. With Diwali around the corner, Taro reminisces about her past. Diwali, a…