Feminism, Shakespeare and Joy @ BYOB Party in Jan 2020 (Part 1)

Welcome to the first BYOB Party of the year!
Sravani told us about a book that she had picked up a year ago. She chose to talk about Woman at Point Zero by Nawal El Saadawi as the book had made a huge impression on her. Dr. Nawal El Saadawi is a radical feminist and has dedicated a large part of her life to fighting against the oppression of women and the ghastly practice of female genital mutilation. More about this inspiring writer here. Firdaus’s story is harrowing and an awakening all at once. It was Saadawi’s meeting with a female prisoner who wished to tell her story that was the spark for this book.


Priya is a voracious reader.  She does not remember Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand with much fondness as it took a long while for her to finish with it. She now tries to read at least a book a month. She chose to speak about Romeo and Juliet. “We all know about the book but how many of us have actually read it? When I read the well-known play, I thought it was too romantic, too over the top. Actually I thought had he published this book in 2020, it would have not worked out at all.” Why was this? It wasn’t about getting past the censors but the dialogues are just too sweet and dramatic to be convincing. He’s crossed the threshold of cheesiness- take the balcony scene. Jane Austen works better for me.”

Readers concluded that it was hard to bridge the gap between centuries but Shakespeare is immortal. For a version of Shakespeare that is perhaps closer to the present day, watch this short film Star Cross’d: Romeo and Juliet retold.

Image result for city of joy book amazonPriya also talked about a book that is extremely close to her heart- The City of Joy by Dominique Lapierre. She found the book from the gratitude wall at Lahe Lahe. The story is set in an Indian slum in Calcutta and tells the tale of a Polish Catholic priest who wants to make a difference. “The biggest takeaway for me from this book was how little people understood about poverty. The story has no distinctive plot and drama as such. Instead, the author tells the stories of the lives of the people of the slum. If there is a villain in the story, it is poverty.” Priya is apprehensive about watching the movie as she enjoyed the book very much.

Watch Dominique Lapierre in conversation with Rajiv Mehrotra here.

More books in Part 2.

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