Tag Archives: books

Book Review: ‘Penny, The Engineering Tail Of The Fourth Little Pig’ By Kimberly Derting And Shelli R. Johannes, Illus. By Hannah Marks

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Today I will share with you the summary and my views on the book Penny, The Engineering Tail Of The Fourth Little Pig by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes, and illustrated by Hannah Marks, which is the third and final book from Capstone Editions that I have recently received for review. While going through these books, I spent some time scrolling through Twitter timeline of Capstone Editions, and came to know the wide spectrum of popular science books published by them. It is indeed a commendable job and worth appreciating. The future of society lies in the hands of future generation, and how the future generation would look like is decided by the type of investment we make in them. Considering the change in brain activity with age, it is important to ‘catch them young’, inculcating habits from an early age. Science is not just about learning facts and understanding the world around us; instead, it teaches us to go beyond superficial appearances, dig below the surface, and examine everything logically and rationally. It is these concerns that make the contribution of Capstone Editions and similar publishers all the more praiseworthy.

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Book Review: ‘Think Like An Artist Don’t Act Like One’ By Koos De Wilt

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I am not sure whether I understood the the book Think Like An Artist Don’t Act Like One by Koos De Wilt correctly. The title seems to suggest aspiring artists not to consider their art merely as a set of skills or their profession, instead to inculcate an artistic mindset and lifestyle so that everything one does has an aesthetic or an artistic element in it. I was sure that this is what the book is about and that it would be full of motivating, inspiring and stimulating passages that would keep the creative fire aflame within me. This is important because in arts, like in any creative pursuit including science, it is very common to succumb to monotony and lose interest or initial vigour. Thus, any words of encouragement and inspiration are always helpful. I wonder how far would creative people go when left only to their own inner fire, without any encouragement from outside.

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Book Review: ‘Sera Bhoy’ By Abhigyan Roychoudhuri

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Sera Bhoy by Abhigyan Roychoudhury is a compilation of ghost stories, though not necessarily horror. Most of the stories in the collection can be labelled as supernatural. It is a comparatively new book and this fact is reflected not only in the supporting prompts, language and mention of years, but also in the content of stories. The first and foremost feature that will capture your attention is Roychoudhury’s highly developed and refined power of imagination which has a foundation of mathematical and (other) scientific facts. There is a story where the protagonist was a scientist studying the correlation between a person’s facial features and criminal tendency. He would see fine details (patterns) in everything he saw around him e.g., the brush strokes on a painted wall. These patterns (he used to call them maps) would take form and life, and appear before him all the time.

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Book Review: ‘Rajkonya’ By Prachet Gupta

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Storytelling is an art and not all people are capable of it. Storytelling in written form is another art and not all people are capable of it either. No, I am not talking about writing skills, composition, crafting clever sentences or ideas. Instead, even if you possess all the skills and talents, you may not be able to tell a compelling story in a convincing way. Yes, it demands enormous craftmanship to catch the attention of the readers within first few sentences and then hold it long enough so that they would sit back and let the writer make an attempt to entertain them. This is even more important in the present age of instant gratification and limited attention span. But what if you are bestowed with great talent of pen and imagination to yarn a story, are able to arouse the interest of the reader not just for the first few sentences instead for the first couple of paragraphs, and in fact are able to entertain and keep them amused for the first few pages, and yet fail to make use of that opportunity and lose the interest of the reader as fast as it was aroused. Such is the case with the novel Rajkonya (Bengali) by Prachet Gupta.

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Book Review: ‘Madhumoy’ By Sunil Gangopadhyay

Most of the stories we come across are set on a basic formula — there is a straight narrative, i.e., the storyline, and then there are fillers, events and details which complement the narrative. In other words, the narrative serves as skeleton for the story, and the details put flesh on that skeleton to create a complete story. While reading Madhumoy (Bengali) by Sunil Gangopadhyay, I felt a slightly different style of composition. There is a core idea, which Sunil wants to communicate. To convey this idea in fiction rather than non-fiction, he yarns a narrative — a very rich, involved and complex storyline. Finally, there are details to make the narrative seem authentic, realistic and something close to our own everyday experiences. The composition is thus very complex, and if you analyse it in the aforementioned manner and are able to recognise the three ingredients, then you would be able to appreciate this work in all its beauty. Fortunately, it is not difficult.

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Book Review: ‘Khela Noy’ By Sunil Gangopadhyay

In my review of Sunil Gangopadhyay’s short stories, I had remarked about their having no plot. Still, I am particularly impressed by his narrative and description. With very little glamour and paraphernalia, he is able to present complete, simply narrated and deep stories. When the description itself is simplified, without exaggerated emotions or figures of speech, the readers are let free to discover and explore all the underlying emotions on their own. Another characteristic I am noticing with every new reading of Sunil Gangopadhyay is that he does not shy away from expressing thoughts, biases or emotions — however ugly or socially unacceptable they might be. He considers them, accepts and acknowledges them as a matter of fact, neither boasting nor feeling shy or ashamed of them. In other words, he accepts strengths as well as weaknesses of humans, but neither supports them nor opposes them. This helps him in looking at every thought, problem or idea from different perspectives, most of which are unbiased, thus providing a balanced comprehension.

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Book Review: ‘Khela’ By Sunil Gangopadhyay

I have reviewed a book by Sunil Gangopadhyay earlier on this blog. It was the first volume of his three-volume collection of short stories. In that post, I had mentioned characteristics of Sunil’s writing style. Also, my analysis of his interpretation of Who Broke Kanishka’s Head continues to be the most read article on my blog. Recently I had an opportunity to read a short novel by him titled Khela, and would share its narrative and my opinion with you.

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Book Review: ‘Manavputra’ By Samaresh Majumdar

The next book by Samaresh Majumdar that I read was Manavputra. It is inspired by Henrik Ibsen’s novel ‘An Enemy Of The People’. If you are keeping track of the fight against climate change or other environmental issues, and are also able to read between the lines and what goes behind the curtains, then this novel would not surprise you in any way. The theme is simply the conflict between environmental conversation and corporate interests.

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Book Review: ‘Pherari’ By Samaresh Majumdar

In my previous post I told you about the novel Unish-Bish by Samaresh Majumdar. Through this post I want to share with you another novel by Samaresh Majumdar which goes by the title Pherari. This is a bit different story both in its background and narration. The most noteworthy feature of this novel is the idea which the writer presents through his narration.

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Book Review: ‘Unish Bish’ By Samaresh Majumdar

I have read couple of novels by Samaresh Majumdar. His writing style is very energetic and is marked by its flow. However, none of his novels sticks in memory and seldom invokes any deep emotion or thought in heart and mind. Usually one comes across fiction written in third person. Occasionally, you might also have come across stories written in first person. I have noticed that several of Samaresh Majumdar’s stories and novels are a combination of these two approaches. I mean, a paragraph starts with narration in third person, but as one sentence follows another, the narration transforms into first person. I mention this at the very beginning because this is a characteristic of Majumdar’s writing and it looks very awkward.

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