Bindu got an unlikely book, considering that speculative fiction is not her favorite genre. She spoke about a couple of stories from the book Magical Women, a collection of short stories edited and compiled by Sukanya Venkatraghavan. The collection introduces the reader to all kinds of mythical creatures and goddesses. Bindu was quite taken by the stories Gul and Gandaberunda. “It’s a commendable effort to rope in so many Indian women writers and weave a fantasy story collection but what I felt is that there was invariably too much social commentary couched with magical women characters. In every story, I was struck by the need to find hidden symbols that highlighted oppression.”
Veena spoke about Collected stories by Shashi Deshpande. She was inspired by the author during her book launch of a recent book. Says Veena, “I loved the way Deshpande spoke- she was so articulate and down to earth that I was tempted to read her stories. I’m also interested in books about Bangalore. The book I picked up was an older book and it goes deep into the human psyche and talks about fleeting thoughts and how we judge people harshly. It’s really refreshing- she’s not embarrassed to write about all kinds of things that run through people’s minds. She’s famous for being a feminist but when she spoke, she mentioned how she didn’t like being seen as a feminist author or an Indian author or a woman author. She just likes being called an author and so I read her book through an undistorted lens and without any bias. Had I not heard it from her, I would have read the book differently.”
Another book that made it to the discussion was Shadows in the Sun.
There was then a prolonged discussion on the merits and demerits of Audible. How small font size intimidation can turn you into an Audible slave and how perfectly good books can suffer from bad narration. It was also confirmed that all good writers are not necessarily good narrators and that though Audible was ‘a kind of cheating’, it had its benefits especially when it came to reading among older populations.
Watch Shashi Deshpande talk about the English language, content and discontent.