The Mahakavi, Darkness and Less @ BYOB Party in August 2019 (Part 5)

Image result for mahaprasthanam amazonSwarup spoke about his experience reading the Telugu  anthology of poems Mahaprasthanam by the Mahakavi or the bard Srirangam Srinivasarao.  This work took the Telugu literary world by storm. Unfortunately, there is not enough data out there about this book for non-Telugu readers who may want to know more about this epic work.

Another book of poems that Swarup opined about was Songs of Innocence and  of Experience Image result for songs of innocence and of experience amazonby William Blake. Blake’s unearthly poetry and illustrations examine the innocence of childhood and the sin of industrialization that swept over England at the time. He examines the  mind-forged manacles that mankind has made his destiny.  “Have you read Kafka’s short story A Hunger Artist?” Swarup asked. “I would advice you to read it.” He ended his book sojourn with a dramatic recital of a Telugu poem.

Image result for darkness at noon amazonAbhaya spoke about Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler. This is a must-read political fiction, an elaboration of the Great Purge that claimed the lives of many Old Bolsheviks during the Stalin era. “The book is amazing,” Abhaya said, ” The most interesting thing is that you get to see impact of the Revolution from someone who believed in its core principles and was let down in the end.” Read the author’s afterword to get a sense of the motive behind writing this book and a deconstruction of Koestler here.

Image result for less amazonI spoke about the book Less by the Pulitzer Prize Winner, Andrew Greer. It’s a love story with a twist and a travelog all rolled in one. “It’s a beautiful book with beautiful sentences,” was as much as I was able to convey about the elegance of Greer’s prose. Less was more than I had expected…

More books in Part 6.


A Tricky Kindle Prime Day Deal: Poonachi by Perumal Murugan

Poonachi: Or the Story of a Black Goat by Perumal Murugan is available in Kindle version for ~Rs. 97 and hardcover version for Rs. 102. The hardcover version is slightly tricky though, because as of now, it is the regular price that shows us as Rs. 102. If you click on the “Deal of the Day” link, it actually takes you to the higher priced version! So stick to the regular price one, if you are buying hardcover (I just did!).

Kindle Prime Day Deals: Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra and Others

If the launch of the Netflix show, controversies around subtitling and a PIL to defend Rajiv Gandhi’s honor has not made you curious about Sacred Games by Vikram Chandra, I don’t know what will! It is a voluminous book (I own the paperback). So, while you may not be able to finish it before watching the series, you might want to grab a discounted version on Kindle (Rs. 139)!

Also available for only Rs. 17.70 is Krishna’s Secret by Devdutt Pattanaik if you are a fan of his mythological research.

My Husband and Other Animals by Janaki Lenin is available for only Rs. 9 too. This book was discussed in BYOB Party once. You can read about it in this post.

Another book I came across is The Fisher Queen’s Dynasty by Kavita Kane. It is priced at Rs. 69. I don’t know anything else about the book, but the premise of a book on Mahabharata with Satyavati as the determined protagonist sounds interesting. Check out if you would like to give it a try.

Kindle Deals on Books: Booker Prize Winner The English Patient, Chasing the Monsoon, The Raj at War and more

Here are some interesting current deals on Kindle. The prices are likely to change. Do check them before ordering.

The English Patient

A Booker Prize Winning World War II Novel

Rs. 55.80

Chasing The Monsoon

A curious adventure as the author literally chases the monsoon.

Rs. 70/-

The Raj At War

Rediscovering Indian History in World War II

Rs. 159.60


Contemporary Kannada Writing in English!

Rs. 59/-

Greatest Bengali Stories Ever Told

Bengali stories in English translated by the master of the craft Arunava Sinha

Rs. 99.80

West Of The Tularosa

Western Stories by L’Amour

Rs. 25.80


Books based on Gandhi



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By Worth a Read

5 Indian Authors in English You Should Read

We all know our Vikram Seth and Amitav Ghosh, but there are some Indian authors who seem to have escaped the limelight in spite of being great writers. We hunted down a few authors on Worth a Read’s(WaR) recommendations list.

kiran_nagarkar1) Kiran Nagarkar is surprisingly not read to the extent to which he should be. Nagarkar is an Indian novelist, drama and film critic and screenwriter. Plus he is bilingual- he writes in both Marathi and English. He has been awarded the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany, described as the ‘highest tribute Germany can pay to individuals’.

He has also been awarded India’s most prestigious literary award, the Sahitya Akademi Award for the novel Cuckold. This book set in the early sixteenth century in the Rajput kingdom of Mewar is a story about battles, feudalism and love.

A book of his that was featured on WaR recommendations was God’s Little Soldier, a saga sprawling from Mumbai to California. Nagarkar takes fundamentalism by the bones and creates a timely epic that leaves you breathless. Read a detailed review here:

Nagarkar dabbles in a variety of genres and there seems to be no topic he is unable to address. Take his humor driven Ravan and Eddie and The Extras.


2) Chetan Raj Shrestha is an architect. He lives in Sydney. His debut work of fiction, The King’s Harvest, won the Tata Literature Live! First Book Award 2013.

The King’s Harvest is a beautifully created book and the novellas in the book revolve around Sikkim. One story An Open-and-Shut Case is a thriller. A woman has hacked her husband into forty seven pieces and confesses at the station. It’s a pretty simple case to shut, but there is more to it than meets the eye. The King’s Harvest is a different kind of story about a man who journeys to visit his king to give him a share of his harvest. Shrestha’s writing is magical and literary. Read the review of the book here:


3) Manu Joseph is becoming a fast favorite in reader circles in India. Former editor of OPEN magazine and columnist for The International New York Times and The Hindustan Times, this Chevening scholar from Kerala raced into the literary scene with his book Serious Men, a witty and comic take on a father-son adventure.

His second novel The Illicit Happiness of Other People is again a look at the father-son relationship. This time a father tries to understand why his son committed suicide. The book deals with many ideas, the thin line between clarity and sanity and the juxtaposition of homor and tragedy, being some of them. Read the exhaustive review here:


4) Upamanyu Chatterjee is an Indian Civil Servant from Bengal who weaves in his fiction and essays literary prose that is reminsiscent of authors like Kafka and Camus and a keen observation of present day India. Chatterjee has produced noteable short stories. His best selling work which catapulted him to the hall of fame was English, August, published in 1988.  The book can evoke a variety of reactions- you could hate the protagonist, a drunk, stoned Westernized individual stuck in rural India or you could pity him. A detailed review here:

In 2009, he was awarded Officier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in recognition of his ‘exemplary contribution to contemporary literature’. He has also been awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award for The Mammaries of the Welfare State. His novel Way To Go was shortlisted for The Hindu Best Fiction Award in 2010.


5) Perumal Murugan is a Tamil writer and scholar but some of his works are available in translation. Murugan was in the news last year as he was under attack for the publication of his novel Madhurobhagan, later translated as One Part Woman. An emotional Murugan promised not to wield his pen henceforth. In 2016, the Madras High Court quashed those charges and the writer has decided to write again.

The controversial story centers on the need to have children and how a couple go to great length to fulfill this need.  They find solace in a deity but part of their solace lies in having consensual sex with another partner in order to conceive. The story touches on marriage, social taboos and sexual mores, and though it is set in a distant past, it tells a story still very relevant in India now.

Read the review here:

Kindle Deals on Books by Anita Nair, Ramchandra Guha, Kiran Nagarkar and More…

Here are some interesting current deals on Kindle. The prices are likely to change. Do check them before ordering.

Spy Princess

The story of a descendant of Tipu Sultan who became the only Asian secret agent in Europe in WWII.

Rs. 75/-


 The hilarious first English book of Kiran Nagarkar. A personal favorite of mine.

Rs. 52/-


A collection of essays by the eminent historian Ramchandra Guha.

Rs. 119.60


The story of one of the earliest women artistes to seize the opportunities of recording technology by Vikran Sampath.

Rs. 89.40


The novel introducing the character of Inspector Gowda by our very own Anita Nair.

Rs. 48/-


The much talked about book on the unfortunate case of Aarushi’s murder.

Rs. 119.60


Kindle Deal on BYOB Party Favorites: Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar and My Husband and Other Animals by Janaki Lenin

Couple of Bring Your Own Book Party Favorites are a good deal on Kindle right now. Cuckold by Kiran Nagarkar, which was a book I had brought to the very first BYOB Party is available for Rs. 74 and My Husband and Other Animals by Janaki Lenin that Shruti had brought in the February 2016 party is available for Rs. 50.

Interesting Deal on Kindle: MSD: The Man, The Leader for Rs. 39

My guess is that it is a book written to capitalize on M S Dhoni’s fandom. His fandom is great indeed – in numbers. So that works for the book.

But if you are indeed a fan, why be apologetic about it? Go ahead and buy here (the price might change, check the price before buying):

If Kindle is not your thing, or you need to display the book in your book-case or on your desk, then there is the paperback too. Not too expensive either.