Suspect X and Miniaturist Art @ BYOB Party in November 2017 (Part 2)

There was a crime thriller edge to the BYOB Party this time. Kshitija spoke about a unique crime thriller called The Devotion of Suspect X by Keigo Higashino. The reason for its uniqueness is that the book is no conventional whodunit and the thrill lies in the power play of human psychology. The storyline is uncomplicated and even though the book is a translation from Japanese, Kshitija enjoyed the writing style. Here’s an interview with the translator Alexander O’Smith if you want to understand more about the how this novel was translated.

The story throws light on the little details of day-to-day life in Japan. Yasuko Hanoaka is a divorced single mother who lives with her daughter. Her abusive ex-husband shows up one day and ends up being killed. Detective Kusanagi suspects Yasuko but needs Professor Galileo’s help to find the culprit. The ending is wowing and Kshitija spoke in breathless excitement about the cleverness of the title. This is one psychological crime thriller you do not want to miss out on.

Aditi also got her hands on a unique literary historical crime thriller by Orhan Pamuk called My Name is RedThis book is a translation as well. Pamuk meshes love, crime and art with sixteenth-century Turkey as the backdrop. One of the miniature artists commissioned by the Sultan to create a book of his glories has disappeared. What makes the book unique besides its ambitious plotline is the fact that the point of view changes from chapter to chapter and requires a great deal of staying power to finish and do justice to as a reader. If you stick with it, this is a book that is hard to forget.

Here’s a link to an interview with Orhan Pamuk where we look at the author who brings life to Turkey’s past, present and future, using the Bosphorus river as the setting for his imagination.

Istanbul, Rumi and the Gods @ BYOB Party in February, 2016 (Part 2)

A question that lay heavy in the minds of the readers this BYOB party(see Part 1) was the idea of light reading vs heavy reading. Does light reading define the book or the person reading it? What one calls light may be another person’s heavy. Tastes differ. The reads below wouldn’t classify as light.

a strangeness in my mind

Sumaa Tekur loves to read while she commutes. It was on one of those commutes in Mumbai that she came across a book called Strangeness in My Mind  by Orhan Pamuk, a writer with an extreme sense of his own geography and who seems to be writing the same story over and over again, as Abhaya observed, though each time as beautifully as the next. The protagonist of almost all Pamuk’s books is Istanbul itself. The book  takes us on a journey through the protagonist Mevlut’s life. Mevlut has a small trade and encounters his own miracles; through his story, Istanbul unravels itself in all its dusty dynamism.



Chandru, writer and researcher at Around io., finds the idea of discussing books at a  BYOB party interesting.  He was a regular reader and a huge fan of Sidney Sheldon, until spirituality kindled his interest. Farukh Dhondy’s Rumi: A New Translation reflects this fascination. Jalaluddin Rumi’s poems negotiate the divine and  not so divine with a panache that no poet since has been able to imitate. Dhondy engages in a challenging feat when he translates the untranslatable as magic is hard to replicate.

the age of deception

Ralph encouraged everyone in the group to pick up Mohamed ElBaradei’s The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times.  ElBaradei was Director of the UN’s International Energy Agency and he and his agency were recipients of the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.

“It’s important to read books like these so that we get a clearer picture of the world. The message of the book is simple- intimidation and humiliation are not the best tactics to succeed in any conflict,” says Ralph.

chariots of the gods


Arisudan Yadav, Project Manager at Wipro, read a semi scientific drama called the Chariots of the Gods. The hypothesis of this book is that many of civilization’s achievements were bestowed upon us by aliens we saw as Gods. What happens when posterity arrives at an uncivilized place?  Whether it’s the pyramids in Egypt or the bizarre runways in Latin America, there seems to be something at work, call it aliens, call it Gods, the choice is yours. As the conversation progressed, a questioned arose whether humans are necessary at all. As a species we are redundant, came one comment. To put things in perspective domesticated animals could not survive without us, said another.

Still in the sci-fi mindset, Abhaya mentioned that E.M.Forster’s story The Machine Stops has a visionary quality about in that it predicts instant messaging. Does the past indeed have all the answers?  The conversation deepened and reference was made to the ancient epic Mahabharata.

We simply cannot have a BYOB party without any mention of the Mahabharata. More in Part 3.