Five Great Short Stories You Can Read Right Now!
Article / March 21, 2014

Many writers agree that ‘tis harder to write a short story compared to a novel. It’s a relatively easy task to set the mood, develop character nuances and conclude satisfyingly when one has pages and pages at their disposal. Short stories, however, face the daunting task of making an impact while catering to increasingly short attention spans. Here are five stories that succeed spectacularly and, what’s more, you can read them right now! 1. The Beast in the Jungle by Henry James This is a spot of cheating on my part because The Beast in the Jungle is a novella, not a short story but being the author of this article imbues me with a power I fully intend on misusing. James is most famous for The Turn of the Screw but my personal favourite of his oeuvre is this 1903 novella. The story of John Marcher, this narrative deals poignantly with the eternal themes of love, loneliness, destiny and death. It is very highly recommended to all existential angst-ridden readers out there. Link- 2. ‘Ligeia’ by Edgar Allen Poe Almost universally recognised as the master of horror fiction, Poe has some absolutely fantastic poems and stories to his…

The Game, Mrs Hudson, Is On!
Article / March 14, 2014

One of the creeds that bookworms everywhere live by is that the book is always better. Your imagination is not limited by pesky problems like budget constraints, primitive technology, casting issues or bossy studio executives. However, once every few years, stars align and woodland creatures sing and lo and behold, a perfect adaptation is made. The most recent piece of cinematic perfection to grace our television screens is BBC’s Sherlock.

No Country for Women; at least in Chetan Bhagat’s world
Article / March 7, 2014

Bhagat’s women characters are pathetic spectres, forever circumscribed within their gender and sexuality, less than human in their one-dimensional personalities, and trophies to be awarded to the central male figure. Here are a few choice quotes so the gentle reader can judge for herself/himself:

Jaipur Literature Festival – Day Five
Article / January 23, 2014

The Jaipur Literature Festival 2014 concluded on January 21st, after 5 days of non-stop literary fun. Neha Yadav is already experiencing withdrawal symptoms! The last day of Jaipur Literature Festival 2014 dawned cold, wet and grey- perfect backdrop for a Bronte novel but a real nuisance for event organisers. My two friends and I, in the pink of health despite ill-advised consumption of frozen yogurt and chilled Cokes, arrived at the venue fully expecting chaos and mayhem. We were however, very pleasantly surprised at the efficiency and good humour with which the organisers and the guests dealt with the whimsical weather. A number of earnest looking youth with wind-whipped pink cheeks were stationed at all the venues to inform guests about the various location and session changes. The first session of the day was Jim Crace in conversation with Chandrahas Choudhry about his book Harvest, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize 2013. The interview took place in the toasty warm and consequently packed British Airways Baithak where Crace joked about feeling right at home (England) because of the weather. This was the third Crace session that I attended and in me, he has found another devoted reader. He spoke…

Jaipur Literature Festival – Day Three
Article / January 20, 2014

The third day at the Jaipur Literature Festival featured several interesting panels; the difficulty being which ones to choose! Neha Yadav reports. The third instalment of my Jaipur Literature Festival chronicles begins at 10:00 am in the morning with yours truly and two trusted sidekicks huddled shivering in the Mahindra Durbar hall, poring over our very helpful (and very colourful) Festival Schedule. The talk titled ‘Love and War: Literature, Danger and Passion in the Second World War Readings’ featured authors Alison McLeod and Lara Feigel reading from their books, Unexploded and The Love Charm of Bombs respectively. Both books deal with the “abnormal lucidity” of the war through the experiences of private individuals- exhilaration, terror, illicit love affairs, compassion, cruelty, hope and waiting. Next stop was ‘Casualties of Love and Sex: The New Gender Fluidity’ at Front Lawns where Margaret Mascarenhas, Mahesh Dattani, Sachin Kundalkar, Neelima Bajpai and Bachi Karkaria discussed the tyranny of a society where supposedly personal matters of love and sex are in fact deeply regulated by public structures of law and social morality. They inevitably brought up the recent Supreme Court ruling on Section 377, citing it as unconstitutional and discriminatory. Other speakers of note during…

Jaipur Literature Festival – Day Two
Article / January 19, 2014

Neha Yadav from the IndiaBookStore team is reporting live at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2014. Read on to see what happened on the second day. The second day of Jaipur Literature Festival began like most of my days usually do- existential despair at having to get out of warm bed and into the cruel cold world that harbours horrors like lizards, overpopulation and Chetan Bhagat. The prospect of six hours of literary awesomeness finally got me out and we reached Diggi Palace just in time for the first event. Held in the Front Lawns at 10:00 am, ‘The Global Novel’ was a conversation about private identity and writing in an increasingly cosmopolitan world. The talk featured literary heavyweights like Jhumpa Lahiri, Jonathan Franzen, Jim Crace, Maaza Mengiste and Xiaolu Guo. The authors debated the importance and economics of the translation industry and the threat posed to indigenous languages by the mainstream literary market. Jim Crace’s unflinching faith in narrative was for me the highlight of the talk and I couldn’t help but nod earnestly when he said that storytelling is too deeply entrenched in the human consciousness and it will survive whatever the form. Next was ‘Burdens of Identity’ with…

Jaipur Literature Festival – Day One
Article / January 18, 2014

Neha Yadav from the IndiaBookStore team is reporting live at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2014. Read on to see what’s happening at the most happening literary event of the year! We (yours truly and two friends) started out on the journey to Jaipur via Ajmer Shatabdi extremely sleep-deprived but full of the kind of nerdy excitement only people pursuing a bachelor’s degree in literature and history can. The train arrived half an hour late due to low visibility, making us miss the opening act. We checked in, threw luggage into the nearest available spot, finger-combed hair and rushed out to join the festivities. Armed with shiny participant passes, we made our way through brightly-coloured sea of people, shivering with both cold and restless energy. The festival complex is a series of aesthetically designed tents and temporary shelters, decorated in greens, blues and yellows with a lot of intricate mirror work. Beside these, there are stalls for optimistically overpriced food, coffee, handicrafts, traditional attire and books. The first event we attended was renowned feminist Gloria Steinem in conversation with Ruchira Gupta on the event of the launch of her new book As if Women Matter at Char Bagh. The topics under…

Review: Perfume by Patrick Suskind
Review / December 27, 2013

Author: Patrick Suskind
Publisher: Vintage; Later Printing Edition
Year: 2001
ISBN: 9780375725845
Rating: ★★★★☆
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“There are scents that linger for decades.” It is these scents of 18th century Paris that author Patrick Suskind dedicates his novel Perfume to. Exploring the psyche of an unusual psychopath, Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, Suskind weaves a tale of a man frighteningly disconnected from humanity, lost in single-minded pursuit of “the fleeting realm of scent.”