Tag Archives: book review

BOOK REVIEW: WOLF TOTEM by Jiang Rong

Copyright@shravancharitymission

by Jiang Rong

Khidki (Window)

–Read Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

     Wolf Totem is a 2004 Chinese semi-auto-biographical novel by Chinese author Lu Jiamin who wrote the book under the pseudonym Jiang Rong. The book was published in 2004 in China and since, has been translated into 30 languages. The author’s true identity did not become public until several years after the book’s publication. He has used auto fiction techniques that merges the auto-biographical and fictive elements of the story. It is about the experiences of a young student from Beijing who is sent to the countryside of Inner Mongolia, which is a Mongolic autonomous region of the People’s Republic of China. Its border includes, most of the length of China’s border with the country of Mongolia. The young student is sent there in 1967, at the height of China’s Cultural Revolution. Also referred as, ‘The Up to the Mountains and Down to the Countryside Movement, often simply known as the Down to the Countryside Movement, was a policy instituted by the People’s Republic of China in the late 1960s and early 1970s. An offshoot of the pro-bourgeois thinking prevalent during the Cultural Revolution in China, in which, Chairman Mao Zedong had declared that certain privileged urban youth, would be sent to the mountainous areas or farming villages to learn from the workers and farmers there. In all, about 17 million youth were sent to the rural areas as a result of the movement.

    Wolf Totem is narrated by the main character of the novel, Chen Zhen, who is a Chinese man in his late twenties, and who also, like the author, leaves his home in Beijing, China, to work in Inner Mongolia a province in China during the Cultural Revolution. Through descriptions of folk traditions, rituals, and life on the steppe, Wolf Totem, compares the culture of the ethnic Mongolian nomads, who are citizens of the People’s Republic of China, but are ethnic Mongols, and the Han Chinese farmers in the area. Han Chinese are East Asian ethnic group, historically native to the Yellow River Basin region of, modern China. They constitute the world’s largest ethnic group, making about 18% of the global population, speaking distinctive variety of Chinese languages.

    According to some interpretations, the book praises, “Freedom, independence, respect, unyielding nature before hardship, teamwork and competition” of the nomads, and criticizes the “Confucian-inspired culture” of the latter, which was “sheep-like”. The book condemns the agricultural collectivisation, the collective farming imposed on the nomads by the settlers, and the ecological disasters it caused, and ends with a 60-page “call to action” that is disconnected from the main thread of the novel.

    The author has mentioned that he got inspired to write Wolf Totem by accident. One day he ignored the advice of the clan chief of the group of nomads with whom he was staying, and accidentally stumbled into a pack of wolves. Terrified, he watched them, as the wolves chased a herd of sheep, off a cliff, then dragged their corpses into a cave. From then on, fascinated by the wolves, he began to study them and their relationship with the nomads more closely, and even attempted to domesticate one.

    The book sold well, almost immediately, after its release, selling some 50,000 copies in just two weeks. Pirated editions began to appear five days after the book first appeared on the shelves. By March 2006, it had sold over four million copies in China, and was also broadcast, in an audiobook format in twelve parts during prime time on China Radio International. Jiang also released a children’s edition of the book in July 2005, cut down to roughly one-third the length.

    Despite the author’s refusal to participate in marketing the book, deals for adaptations of the novel into other media and translations into other languages have set financial records. Penguin Books paid US$100,000 for the worldwide English rights, setting a record for the highest amount paid for the translation rights to a Chinese book. An unspecified Tokyo publisher paid US$300,000 for the rights to publish a manga (graphic) adaptation, and Bertelsmann bought the German-language rights for €20,000. The author believes that, “in the West they may understand his book more comprehensively than in China.”

    Other writers took advantage of the author’s anonymity to write fake sequels to Wolf Totem, including two books titled, Wolf Totem 2, as well as Great Wolfof the Plains, all with the imprint of the Chang Jiang Arts Publishing House. As a result, in April 2007, the author issued a statement that denounced all such “sequels” as fraudulent. He indicated that he was doing research for another book, but would not be publishing anything new in the short term.

    Wolf Totem has also been the subject of criticism. Charu Nivedita, in his review in The Asian Age, called the novel fascist. He wrote, “Won’t we all prefer a peaceful desert to a fascist grassland, where, one dominating race devours all other in a macabre ritual of bloodbath?” German sinologist Wolfgang Kubin described the book as “fascist” for its depiction and treatment of the farmers. Pankaj Mishra, reviewing the English translation for The New York Times, described Jiang’s writing as “full of set-piece didacticism.

   Mongol writer Guo Xuebo a scholar of Mongolian literature and history, has said that the wolf was never a traditional totem used by ethnic Mongolians. On the contrary, the wolf is the biggest menace for their survival. His post to this effect on Sina Weibo a Chinese internet site, on 18 February 2015 was questioned by many others. On February 25, he wrote an open letter, condemning the novel and the film, saying they “humiliate the ancestry, distort the history and culture, and insult the Mongolian people.” Independent from his views some others wrote, the wolf is a revered animal, which is regarded as having a heavenly destiny in Mongolia. On 20 January 2016, the Inner Mongolia Academy of Social Sciences, the leading academic and research institution in Inner Mongolia, said that the wolf totem does not exist in ethnic Mongolian belief. The institution found, remains of ancient Mongolian totem worship, in varying degrees, among some tribes in ethnic Mongolia, but concluded there is no unified ethnic totem for Mongolian people after a wide range of fieldwork from April until July 2015 in Inner Mongolia.

    Film adaptation:Wolf Totem is a 2015 Chinese-language film based on the novel. Directed by French director Jean-Jacques Annaud who co-wrote with Alain Godard and John Collee. The Chinese-French co-production features a Chinese student who is sent to Inner Mongolia to teach shepherds and instead learns about the wolf population, which is under threat by a government apparatchik. An apparatchik was a full-time, professional functionary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union or the Soviet Government. 

    The Beijing Forbidden City Film Corporation initially sought to hire a Chinese director, but filming humans with real wolves was considered too difficult. New Zealand director Peter Jackson was therefore approached, but production did not take place. Annaud, whose 1997 film Seven Years in Tibet is banned in China, was hired despite the history. The film was finally produced by China Film Group and French-based Reperage. The French director, who had worked with animals on other films, acquired a dozen wolf pups in China and had them trained for several years by a Canadian animal trainer. With a production budget of US$40 million, Annaud filmed Wolf Totem in Inner Mongolia, where the book is set, for over a year.

    The film premiered at the European Film Market on February 7, 2015. It was scheduled to be released in China on February 19, 2015, for the start of the Chinese New Year, and in France on February 25, 2015.

    A good book has many takers just as this one that was also adapted into a movie. I would give the book seven out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

Short stories published in Bhavan’s Journal: Reality and Perception 15.10.19; Sending the Wrong Message 31.5.20; Eagle versus Scholars June 15 & 20 2020.

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

BOOK REVIEW: SPIDER’S WEB … Agatha Christie

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Cover Page

Khidki (Window)

–Read Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

     Spider’s Web was written by none other, than the Queen of Crime, Agatha Christie.  It is a novelization by Charles Osborne of the 1954 play of the same name by crime fiction writer Agatha Christie and was first published in the UK by Harper Collins in September 2000 and by St. Martin’s Press in the US on November 11, 2000.

    The book was written, following, the successful novelizations and publication of the 1930 play Black Coffee in 1998, and the 1958 play titled The Unexpected Guest in 1999, of Agatha Christie. Like those books, the novelization of Spider’s Web is also, a straightforward transfer of the stage lines and directions of Christie’s script into a written narrative. This was done by Charles Osborne who chose not to add characters, lines or scenes that would alter in any substantial way, what had been presented on the stage, although, minor amendments were made to produce suitable chapter endings. Osborne contributed a section to the book, on the history of Christie’s plays. ‘Spider’s Web’ is a very intriguing work of Agatha Christie where one can say that her imagination is at her best. Now without beating around the bush let me take you through the plot of this particular novel.

    The story opens in a mansion where a few guests while partying are playing a very peculiar game—a kind of Blind man’s buff. One out of them is blindfolded. He is tasting wine and port from a few bottles, and is attempting to name the brand of the liquor. If he pronounces the correct name he wins the bet. The party is happening at Clarissa Hailsham-Brown’s home. Clarissa Hailsham-Brown is the wife of a foreign diplomat Henry Hailsham-Brown. There are three guests in the house. Clarissa’s godfather Sir Rowland … better known as “Roly” Delahaye, Hugo Birch and a young man named Jeremy Warrender. When Jeremy is given the opportunity of being alone with Clarissa, he confesses his love for her. But Clarissa, sticking to her values of being a faithful wife to Henry and a step mother to Pippa, rejects his proposal. Later when Pippa returns from school she indulges herself in exploring parts of the manor house with Jeremy and in the process she reveals a secret passage inside the house.

    After the brief party, Roly, Hugo Birch and Jeremy all the three guests proceed to the local golf club. Meanwhile, Clarissa is confronted by a visitor in the house. His name is Oliver Costello, who happens to be Pippa’s mother’s second husband as well as a drug addict. He confirms to Clarissa that in future Pippa will have to stay with her mother. Soon, he leaves the house and is escorted out by Miss Peake, the gardener of the manor house. A few minutes later Henry Hailsham-Brown arrives home and innocently reveals about the intended secret arrival of the Soviet Premier in London. He tells Clarissa he has to go and meet him at the local airport and will return later.

    The room empties out when Costello returns for some mysterious reasons and is seen sneaking around the living room. Clarissa soon discovers his body in the drawing-room. It is believed that Pippa has killed him with a golf club in desperation and dilemma. Clarissa gets nervous, she calls the golf club and requests the three guests to return. She devises a plan with the three returning guests (Roly, Hugo Birch and Jeremy) to dispose of the body. But unfortunately, before they can even dispose of the body, the police arrives and they say that they have had an anonymous phone call, suggesting that a murder has taken place at the house. When questioned, Clarissa and the guests all lie about the facts, hoping to cover up the murder that is thought to have been committed by Pippa. Clarissa on being asked to tell the truth, changes her story a number of times and gets herself entangled in a ‘spider’s web’. The police soon find that Costello’s body is missing. It was taken away by Miss Peake to an upper bedroom so that the police wouldn’t come across it while they searched the house, and interviewed the individuals.

    Later, when Jeremy is alone, in an attempt in pretending to comfort Pippa, he tries to smother her with a pillow, but stops short when Clarissa suddenly approaches him. Clarissa, who is shrewd, keen and acute at understanding things, discovers that it is Jeremy who had murdered Charles Sellon, an antique shop owner and the previous owner of the manor house in which she was staying as a tenant, because Charles Sellon had something valuable in his possession that was lying hidden somewhere in this house. The item which Jeremy has been looking for, is somewhere in the house and not at the antique shop. That was why Costello approached Clarissa, thinking that she was Mrs Brown, the owner of the manor house and the partner in his antique shop business.  It is then revealed that Miss Peake is actually Mrs Brown (Clarissa is Mrs Hailsham-Brown). Since Jeremy was on the same mission as Costello, Costello had to be eliminated. The item which the rogues had been looking for was an error postage stamp, which would have fetched a sum of £14,000 which was big money. Jeremy tries to kill Clarissa as she is the only one remaining, who knows about his secret. However, the police are eavesdropping on them and they finally arrest Jeremy. The three guests then leave for their respective homes and Henry too returns home. Clarissa learns that the Premier was not at the airport as part of a security set up, but is still expected to visit the house. The play closes as Clarissa and Henry get ready for the visit of the Premier.

    It is an extremely interesting novel. The language and sentences are Agatha Christies’ typical style that are most enjoyable to read and easy to understand. She conveys the intricacy of a murder mystery with so much easy. Her sentences are loaded with the choicest of words and precise action descriptions. She expresses each expression so diligently and each discussion so precisely. I would give the book seven out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be the undying characteristics of Lucknow. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014. It is included for reading in Askews and Holts Library Services, Lancashire, U.K.)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

BOOK REVIEW: THE RSS–ICONS OF THE INDIAN RIGHT by Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay

Copyright@shravancharitymission

    It is a well-researched book published in the year 2019. The publishers are Westland Publications, Chennai. The main book comprises of some 405 pages and then you have the end notes and the index. The price of this book is Rs 799. Before I touch the book, let me brief you, about the author.

    Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay began his career in journalism in the early 1980s and is best known for his reportage on the rise of Hindu organisations and their politics. He writes columns for several newspapers and web portals, and is also, a well-known face, on the Indian television news channel, as a political commentator.

    His other books include the best-selling Narendra Modi: The Man, The Times; and Sikhs: The Untold Agony of 1984. Nilanjan is an unabashed college drop-out. He lives with his family in Delhi-NCR.

    The subject book comprehensively explains the genesis of RSS. In present times RSS is almost close to an untouchable organisation for some in India and even abroad. But why, is the moot question. On the face of it, RSS has been, an apolitical organisation in many ways, so to say. But why and how did this right wing organisation become pan India. Was it to save the Hindus and unite them against the onslaught of Muslims primarily, and why forget the British tyranny against Hindu culture—primarily the caste system. The book explains it all through the individual accounts of eleven RSS icons that the author goes on to detail. In a nutshell can one say RSS was a befitting counterweight to the Muslim League? Figure it out for yourself by reading the book. Taking the cue from the book further.

        In the history of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), which is known for the domineering presence of Konkanastha or Chitpavan Brahmins, it is probably one of the biggest rarities of fate that its founder was born into a family of migrants from a village in Telangana.

    In the early decades of the 19th century, several landless Brahmin families who made their living as priests in Nizamabad district, were forced to flee their homes under the Mughal rule. Many chose to settle in Nagpur, a city that was ruled by Maratha Bhonsle kings, mainly because, the dispensation, supported Vedic learning. Keshav Baliram Hedgewar’s great-great-grandfather was among those who had made the city his home. Gradually, these immigrant families from Andhra Pradesh began to assimilate, and not only did they adapt to Maharashtrian customs, but also began looking up to local historical icons as their very own.

    The book gives a good account of partition and the initial Bengal links of some of the RSS leaders such as Keshav Baliram Hedgewar, Syama Prasad Mookerjee and Golwalkar aka Guruji that goes to show how Bengal was indeed the think-tank of that India. The book unearths certain facts that we’ll never venture to find out in our day-to-day life. One of the peculiarities of national politics at that time was the practice of simultaneous membership in multiple organisations. For instance both the Indian National Congress and Hindu Mahasabha boasted of common members.

    RSS was formed for the promotion and safeguard of Hindus. And at the time of partition when refugees entered India from Pakistan RSS did stellar work in looking after them in terms of food, shelter and security. These refugees soon started off with small trade but they didn’t snap their relationship with the RSS, rather they became members of RSS. And did you know that Veer Savarkar was not a member of BJP’s erstwhile political avatar the Jana Sangh, nor the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), but leaders of the Sangh Parivar, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi, always held him in great esteem.

    Yes a fog of mystery does surround the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh—or RSS even today—the largest cadre-based organisation in the world. The political tow-chain that goes on between the RSS and its political offshoot earlier Jan Sangh and now BJP is covered in the individual accounts quite comprehensively which is otherwise a mystery for the common man of India.

    The author chronicles the personal and political journeys of the most important men (and a woman) of the Hindu Right-wing, digging up, little-known, but revealing facts about them. Let me narrate a few of them only to build your interest in this book.

    KESHAV BALIRAM HEDGEWAR: The founder of the RSS, and its first sarsanghchalak, was called ‘Cocaine’ as a young revolutionary, who transported subversive literature for a group back home in Nagpur. Although, Keshav was originally a Brahmin from Telangana, he had little trouble in securing entry into the subversive world of Bengali radicals.

    VINAYAK DAMODAR SAVARKAR: This leading light of the Hindu Right had once invited the vegetarian Mahatma Gandhi to dinner and had told him that unless one consumed animal protein, one would, not be able to challenge the might of the British. Well … few had faced the tyrannical wrath of the British Raj than Veer Savarkar having spent an aeon in Kalapani—so was it a reaction to the deep agonies that he suffered in the jail?

    MADHAV SADASHIV GOLWALKAR aka ‘GURUJI’: The iconic ‘hermit-ideologue’, whose appointment as sarsangchalak was challenged by many in the RSS itself, had maintained, the only work that needs to be done is to unite and organise fragmented Hindu society into a large corporate entity through the daily work of RSS.

    SYAMA PRASAD MOOKERJEE: A brilliant academic-statesman who became part of Nehru’s Cabinet. Mookerjee had several differences with the prime minister. He once asked Nehru: ‘Are Kashmiris Indians first and Kashmiris next, or are they Kashmiris first, second and third, and not Indians at all?’

    BALASAHEB DEORAS: This towering pracharak had a strong dislike for religious rituals, and referred to himself as a ‘Communist’ within the RSS—‘it is highly debatable if he believed in God, or if, in any way he needed Him.’

    DEENDAYAL UPADHYAY: The man who propounded the ‘philosophy’ of integral Humanism was opposed to the partition of India and recommended that, ‘if we want unity, we must adopt the yardstick of Indian nationalism, which is Hindu nationalism, and Indian culture, which is Hindu culture.’

    These and other leaders, including Vijaya Raje Scindia, Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Lal Krishna Advani, Askok Singhal and Bal Thackeray, are all covered in the book. Through the individual stories of the organisation’s tallest leaders, a larger picture emerges. In spite of a three-time ban on RSS in a multicultural and secular India—and despite the RSS’ insistence that it has no truck with electoral politics—the group is, and will be, the hand that’ll always rock the BJP’s cradle. The author by and large maintains a fair balance between criticism and appreciation of the RSS which I liked. He has done a good amount of homework and has got inscriptions from various sources which only adds to the flavour of the book. Yes narration is in long and at times bulky.

    Last but not the least, even if you fear reading a thick book, you could still read it as, one icon at a time, which will not make it monotonous. The chapters are self-sufficient. Language is plain quite easy to understand with occasional verbose. I would give the book seven out of ten. It makes an informative read.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

   

BOOK REVIEW: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE … JANE AUSTEN

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    The novel revolves around the Bennet family. It has more than ten characters. The five marriageable daughters and mother will be without a home and income once Mr. Bennet dies: The terms on which Mr. Bennet inherited Longbourn estate (It was called “fee tail male” now abolished by a law in England). The estate passes on to the nearest male relative, which makes it impossible for the women to inherit the property. So, if Mr Bennet dies the estate will pass on to his male relative.

    The mother Mrs Bennet worries about this predicament, and wishes to find husbands for her daughters quickly. The father doesn’t seem to be worried at all. Elizabeth, the heroine of the novel, has decided to marry only if she falls in love, and she has no real vision about how she will survive financially. On the contrary, she is of the opinion that her sister Jane, who is very kind and beautiful, will find a wealthy husband, and that she would then live with her.

    As the novel opens, Mr Bingley, a wealthy young gentleman, rents a country estate near Bennets called Netherfield. He arrives in town accompanied by his fashionable sisters and his good friend, Mr Darcy. While Bingley is well-received in the community, Darcy begins his acquaintance with smug condescension and shrewd disdain for all the ‘country’ people. Bingley and Elizabeth Bennet’s older sister Jane begin to grow close. Elizabeth’s best friend Charlotte advises, that Jane should be more bold and affectionate with Bingley, as they are both shy, and he may not know that she indeed is interested in him. Elizabeth disregards her friend’s opinion, saying that Jane is shy and modest, and that if Bingley can’t see how she feels, he is a fool. Elizabeth therefore, doesn’t tell Jane about Charlotte’s advice. Meanwhile, Elizabeth is stung by Darcy’s haughty rejection of her at a local dance and decides to match his coldness with her own wit.

    At the same time Elizabeth begins a friendship with one Mr Wickham, a militia officer who relates a prior acquaintance with Darcy. Wickham tells her that he has been seriously mistreated by Darcy. Elizabeth immediately seizes upon this information as another reason to hate Darcy. But ironically, and even unbeknownst to Elizabeth, Darcy finds himself gradually drawn to her.

    Just as Bingley appears to be on the point of proposing marriage to Jane Bennet, he for some reason quits Netherfield, leaving Jane confused and upset. Elizabeth is convinced that Bingley’s sister has conspired with Darcy to separate Jane and Bingley.

    Before Bingley leaves, Mr Collins, the male relative who is to inherit Longbourn, makes a sudden appearance and stays with the Bennets. He is a recently ordained clergyman employed by a wealthy and patronising Lady Catherine de Bourgh. Though he is requested to visit by his patroness, Collins has another reason for visiting: he wishes to find a wife out of the Bennet sisters. Mr Bennet and Elizabeth are amused by his self-important and pedantic behaviour. He immediately takes a liking for Jane. But when, Mrs Bennet mentions about Jane’s liking for Mr Bingley, he swiftly turns to Elizabeth. He soon proposes to Elizabeth, who refuses, much to her mother’s distress. Collins quickly recovers and then proposes to Elizabeth’s close friend, Charlotte Lucas, who immediately accepts him. Once the marriage is arranged, Charlotte asks Elizabeth to come for an extended visit.

    In the spring, Elizabeth joins Charlotte and her cousin at his parish in Kent. The parish is adjacent to Rosings Park, the grand manor or grand senior of Mr Darcy’s aunt, Lady Catherine De Bourgh, where Elizabeth is frequently invited. While calling on Lady Catherine, Mr Darcy encounters Elizabeth. Elizabeth discovers from a cousin of Darcy that it was Darcy who separated Bingley and Jane. Soon after, Darcy admits his love for Elizabeth and proposes to her. Insulted by his high-handed and insulting manner off proposing, Elizabeth refuses him. When he asks, as to why, she should refuse him, she confronts him with his sabotage of Bingley’s relationship with Jane, and Wickham’s account of their dealings.

    Deeply shaken by Elizabeth’s accusations, Darcy writes her a letter justifying his actions while explaining that George Wickham, the son of his late father’s steward, had refused the living his father had arranged for him, and was instead given money for it. But George Wickham quickly squandered all the money and when impoverished, asked for a living again. After being refused, he tried to elope with Darcy’s 15-year-old sister, Georgiana, for her considerable dowry but was stopped and that is why he is against him. Mr Darcy also writes that he separated Jane and Bingley because Jane had no reciprocal feelings for Bingley.

        Darcy admits he was concerned about the disadvantageous connection with Elizabeth’s family, especially her embarrassing mother and wild younger sisters. After reading the letter, Elizabeth begins to question both her family’s behaviour and Wickham’s credibility. She concludes that Wickham is not as trustworthy as his manners would indicate, and that he had lied to her previously, and that her early impressions of Darcy might have been inaccurate. Soon after receiving the letter, Elizabeth returns home.

    Some months later, during a tour of Derbyshire with her aunt and uncle, Elizabeth visits Pemberley, Darcy’s estate. Darcy’s housekeeper, an older woman who has known Darcy since childhood, presents Elizabeth and her relatives with a flattering and benevolent impression of his character. Unexpectedly, Darcy arrives at Pemberley as they tour its grounds. He makes an effort to be gracious and welcoming to them, thus strengthening Elizabeth’s newly favourable impression of him. Darcy then introduces Elizabeth to his sister Georgiana. He treats her uncle and aunt very well, and finds them of a more sound character than other relatives, whom he had previously dismissed as socially inferior.

    Elizabeth and Darcy’s renewed acquaintance is cut short when news arrives that Elizabeth’s younger sister Lydia has run away with Wickham. Initially, the Bennets believe that Wickham and Lydia have eloped, but soon it is surmised that Wickham has no plans to marry Lydia. Lydia’s antics threaten the family’s reputation and the Bennet sisters with social ruin. Elizabeth and her aunt and uncle hurriedly leave Derbyshire, and Elizabeth is convinced that Darcy will avoid her from now on.

    Soon, thanks to the intervention of Elizabeth’s uncle, Lydia and Wickham are found and married. After the marriage, Wickham and Lydia pay a visit to Longbourn. While bragging to Elizabeth, Lydia comments that Darcy was present at the wedding. Surprised, Elizabeth sends an enquiry to her aunt, from whom she discovers that Darcy was responsible for both, finding the couple and arranging their marriage at great expense to himself.

    Soon after, Bingley and Darcy return to the area. Bingley proposes marriage to Jane, and this news starts rumours that Darcy will now propose to Elizabeth. Lady Catherine travels to Longbourn with the sole aim of confronting Elizabeth and demanding that she never accept such a proposal. Elizabeth refuses to bow to Lady Catherine’s demands. When news of this obstinacy reaches Darcy, it convinces him that Elizabeth’s opinion about him has now changed. When he visits, he once again proposes marriage. Elizabeth this time accepts, and the two get engaged.

    The final chapters of the book establish the future of the characters. Elizabeth and Darcy settle at Pemberley where Mr Bennet visits often. Mrs Bennet remains frivolous and silly; she often visits the new Mrs Bingley and talks of the new Mrs Darcy. Later, Jane and Bingley move from Netherfield to avoid Jane’s mother and the Meryton relations (Meryton is an imaginary town in the book) and to locate near the Darcy’s in Derbyshire. Elizabeth and Jane manage to teach Kitty greater social grace, and Mary learns to accept the difference between herself and her sisters’ beauty and mixes more with the outside world. Lydia and Wikham continue to move often, leaving their debts for Jane and Elizabeth to pay off. At Pemberley, Elizabeth and Georgiana grow close, though Georgiana is surprised by Elizabeth’s playful treatment of Darcy. Lady Catherine stays very angry with her nephew’s marriage but over time the relationship between the two is repaired and she eventually decides to visit them. Elizabeth and Darcy also remain close with her uncle and aunt.

    The novel was originally titled ‘First Impression’ by Jayne Austen, and was written between October 1796 and August 1797.

It’s a masterpiece.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: RUSKIN BOND: Captain Young’s Ghost–Ghostly Tales from the Indian Hills

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    Neither can book lovers, step out of their homes, nor can they, order books online, due to the lockdown. So in this period of utter dilemma let me take you through an interesting book titled ‘Captain Young’s Ghost’ –Ghostly Tales from the Indian Hills by none other than Ruskin Bond. Friends, he is one author who has a universal appeal. He is read both by children and adults. Surely … there’s something about him.

    Ruskin Bond has created many unforgettable characters in his novels among them are ghosts and spirits that haunt the hills and foothills of the Himalayas. These ghosts are not always horrific. They are mysterious and often benevolent, or lonely creatures looking for company among humans. The collection in this book are new stories. The publisher is Speaking Tiger. Year of publication is 1918. It is available in all online stores.

    The book in all has, over twenty stories. Superb for light reading and also as bedtime stories. It’ll not be possible for me to relate to, all the stories in this short clip. But yes let me give you a glimmer of the title story that is, Captain Young’s Ghost.

    ‘Captain Young’s Ghost,’ is a story, set up, in the hills of Mussoorie, Barlowganj and Landour. It’s written in first person. Where, the narrator is sitting in a bar enjoying his Martini. It’s a cold day in February, and it’s been raining all along, when a person a visitor who looks familiar to the narrator walks up to him and requests if he can join him as the bar-cum-restaurant is practically empty. The narrator doesn’t say no.

    Thereafter, the visitor orders whiskey. The barman gives him a choice ‘Indian or Scotch.’ But the man orders Irish whiskey. The barman declines. He says, ‘No Irish, sir. Only Scotch is available.’ Finally with a certain amount of distaste the person settles for a Scotch.

    Thereafter the person settles in his chair, scans across the room, which is largely empty except for a pianist in the far corner, tinkling away to glory. He asks, ‘Why do they call it, Captain Young’s Bar? That’s an Irish name. Does he own this place?’ The narrator says no.

    Thereafter, the visitor, and the narrator, get into an interesting conversation. They discuss Captain Young at length. The narrator describes the military lives of one General Gillespie and Captain Young both in British Army, when there is a sudden commotion outside.

    It so happens that there is one Mr Foster whom the hotel has hired for a unique rendition. He often comes on a horse dressed as Captain Young’s Ghost, to entertain guests since it is perceived that Captain Young’s ghost is harmless. But since Mr Foster on that very day stumbles off his horse which is actually a pony the secret is unintentionally let out that Foster indeed is the protagonist dressed as Captain Young’s Ghost.

    In the meanwhile the Assistant Manager of the hotel asks the narrator if liked Mr Foster’s show. Narrator says he didn’t. But by the time he returns to his table in the bar he finds to his surprise that the person or the visitor who had joined him for a drink has vanished and he was heard saying, ‘he had  seen enough nonsense for one evening.’

    Finally, the narrator too, leaves the bar and while walking up the hill he comes across an old acquaintance Bahadur the chowkidar who recognises him as Captain Young’s Ghost and knows that he is harmless. But he comments, ‘sir how come you are not in uniform today and without your horse.’

    The story closes with the narrator walking up the steep hill. The mist gradually lifts and the moon comes out where he finds his white horse waiting for him as a homeless ghost, just like his master. He realises he shouldn’t have gone away to England, for this was the town he had created, and he should have breathed his last years here. Unfortunately that did not happen, so he keeps returning to his beloved town.

    The book overall is extremely interesting especially if you like short stories. I like them hell of a lot. I would give the book seven out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

MIRAGE

(Published in February 2020. The book is a collection of eight short stories. It is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Notion Press)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: NO ONE IS TOO SMALL TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    This is a book by teenager climate activist Greta Thunberg, published on 30 May 2019. It consists of a collection of eleven speeches which she has written and orated about global warming and climate crisis.

    Greta Thunberg, born in 2003, August, one day decided not to go to school. Instead, she started to strike outside the Swedish Parliament. Her actions sparked off a global movement on climate crisis, inspiring millions of pupils to go on strike to save our planet. This helped her earning the prestigious Prix Liberte, as well as the Nobel Peace Prize nomination. Greta has Asperger’s syndrome (a developmental disorder characterised by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behaviour and interests). She considers it a gift that has enabled her to see the climate crisis ‘in black and white.’

    ‘No One Is Too Small to Make a Difference is Greta’s first book in English, a collection of her speeches from climate rallies across Europe to audiences at the UN, the World Economic Forum, and the British Parliament. Her next book, ‘Scenes from the Heart’ is a memoir, jointly written with her mother, the opera singer, Malena Ernman, her sister Beata Ernman, and her father Svante Thurnberg.

    The subject book is by Penguin. In all 68 pages. In her speeches she makes some very relevant points that are as follows:

  • When school started in August this year I decided enough is enough. I sat on the ground outside the Swedish Parliament. I school-striked for the climate.
  • Climate scientist Johan Rockstrom and some other people wrote that we have at most three years to reverse growth in greenhouse –gas emissions if we were to reach the goals set in the Paris Agreement. Since then over a year and two months have already passed, and in that time many other scientists have said the same thing. Since then a lot of things have got worse and greenhouse emissions continue to increase.
  • In Sweden we live our lives as if we had the resources of 4.2 planets. Our carbon foot-print is one of the ten worst in the world. This means Sweden steals 3.2 years of natural resources from future generations every year. Those of us who are part of these future generations would like Sweden to stop doing that. She is not shy of criticizing her own country while trying to save the planet from global warming.
  • Many people say that Sweden is a small country, and that it doesn’t matter what we do. But I think it does matter what we do. I think if a few girls can get headlines all over the world by just not going to school for a few weeks, imagine what we could do together if we wanted to.
  • Newspapers continue not to write about climate change even when they know climate is a critical question of our time.
  • Many politicians have ridiculed me and us. They have called me retarded, a bitch, a terrorist and many other things.
  • When I was eight years old, I first heard about something called climate change, or global warming. Apparently a thing human beings had created by their way of living.
  • If burning fossil fuels was so very bad that it threatened our very existence, how could we just continue like before? Why were there no restrictions? Why wasn’t it made illegal?
  • Countries like Sweden, the US and UK need to start reducing emissions by at least 15 percent every year to stay below a 2 degree Celsius warming target. Now IPCC (Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change) say that we have to aim for 1.5 degree Celsius.
  • No one ever speaks about the aspect of equity, or climate justice, clearly stated all over in the Paris Agreement and the Kyoto Protocol, which is absolutely essential to make the Paris Agreement work on a global scale. This means rich countries need to get down to zero emissions, within six to twelve years, so that people in poorer countries can heighten their standard of living by building some of the infrastructure that we have already built, such as roads, hospitals, electricity, schools and clean drinking water. Otherwise, how can we expect countries like India or Nigeria to care about the climate crisis if we, who already have everything, don’t care even a second about it, basis our actual commitments to the Paris Agreement?
  • Why should I be studying for a future that’ll soon not be there, and moreover, when no one is doing anything whatsoever to save it?
  • Today we use 100 million barrels of oil every day. There are no policies to change that. There are no rules to keep that oil in the ground.
  • According to the IPCC, we are less than twelve years away from the point of no return to disaster. There are no grey areas when it comes to survival.
  • Here in Davos—just like everywhere else—everyone is talking about money. It seems that money and growth are our only main concerns.
  • We are now at a time in history where everyone with any insight of the climate crisis that threatens our civilization and the entire biosphere must speak out. The bigger your carbon footprint—the bigger your moral duty. The bigger your platform—the bigger your responsibility.
  • In May 2018 I was one of the winners in a writing competition about the environment held by Svenska Dagbladet, a Swedish newspaper. I got my article published when some people contacted me, among them was Bo Thoren from Fossil Free Dalsland.
  • On the 20th August I sat down outside the Swedish Parliament. I handed out fliers with a long list of facts about the climate crisis and explanations on why I was striking. The first thing I did was to post on Twitter and Instagram what I was doing and it soon went viral. Then journalists and newspapers started arriving. A Swedish entrepreneur and businessman active in the climate movement, Ingmar Rentzhog, was among the first to arrive. He spoke with me and took pictures that he posted on facebook.
  • Many people say that we don’t have any solutions to the climate crisis. And they are right. Because how do you ‘solve’ the greatest crisis that humanity has ever faced? How do you ‘solve’ a war? How do you ‘solve’ going to the moon for the first time? How do you ‘solve’ inventing new inventions?
  • The climate crisis is both the easiest and the hardest issue mankind has ever faced.

    This is a priceless book written by a teenager activist hence I would not like to rate it. Instead, I would like to recommend the book to every citizen of the world.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

Book review: The Secret Woman–Victoria Holt

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

THE SECRET WOMAN

ELEANOR HIBBERT

   Pseudonym: Victoria Holt

    The Secret Woman is a Gothic romance (mysteries, often involving the supernatural heavily tinged with horror, and they were usually set against dark backgrounds of medieval ruins and even haunted castles) and suspense novel written by English author Eleanor Hibbert under the pseudonym Victoria Holt. It was originally published in 1970 and is considered to be a bestseller. Set in 1887, it chronicles Anna Brett’s scandalous romance with a married ship captain Redvers Stretton. As they sail across the South Seas, tensions build up, among Anna, Redvers, and everyone else on-board ‘The Serene Lady.’ It is a mystery involving murder, destruction of ship called The Secret Woman, where, the missing fortune of diamonds begins to unravel.

    The first edition of The Secret Woman was published in the United States in 1970 by Doubleday & Company Inc., in New York. Since its initial release, several other versions of it have also been made. The most recent publication was done by Sourcebooks Casablanca Inc., in Naperville, Illinois in 2014.

    The Secret Woman is considered a bestseller of 1970, along with Erich Segal’s Love Story and John Fowles’ The French Lietenant’s Woman. The book’s success was a likelihood but it was also bolstered by the success of Hibbert’s previous novels such as ‘Mistress of Mellyn’ and ‘The Shivering Sands.’ The positive reception of these works eventually gave Hibbert the title of “Queen of Romantic Suspense” driving the sales of Victoria Holt novels to over 56 million copies worldwide.

    The main characters of this novel are:

    Anna Brett – narrator and protagonist in her late 20s. Heiress to Charlotte Brett’s antique business and governess to Redvers Stretton’s son, Edward.

    Charlotte Brett – Anna’s spinster aunt, who runs an antique business out of the Queen’s House.

    Redvers Stretton – is a sailor, captain of The Secret Woman and The Serene Lady, and happens to be Anna’s love interest.

    Chantel Loman – Charlotte Monique’s nurse; and Anna’s closest friend.

    Rex Crediton – Redvers’ half-brother, and heir to Lady Crediton’s business and riches and Chantel’s love interest.

    Monique Stretton – Redvers’ wife and Edward’s mother; a native of the island of Coralle.

    Anna Brett was born in India, due to her father being in the Indian Army. But when she was about eight years old her parents moved her to live in Langmouth, England with her Aunt Charlotte into what is referred to as the Queen’s House. While in Langmouth, Anna was educated and began to learn the ways of Aunt Charlotte’s antique business as she grew up.

Central theme

    On one autumn night, a sailor named Redvers Stretton comes to see Anna and their romantic interest in each other starts to grow from there. As Aunt Charlotte grows older and weaker, she hires a nurse, Chantel Loman, to look after her. Chantel seems to brighten up the otherwise dreary Queen’s House and quickly becomes close friends with Anna. Then one morning, Chantel finds Charlotte dead from an opium tablet overdose. And, because she would have benefited from Charlotte’s death, people suspect Anna of killing her aunt, but Chantel successfully defends her and the death is declared a suicide. Thereafter, Chantel takes up a job at the nearby Castle Crediton, caring for Monique Stretton, wife of Redvers that Anna had not previously known about. Anna discovers she has inherited serious debts from Aunt Charlotte and decides to sell her antique furniture and even rent out the Queen’s House. During her time at the castle, Chantel and Rex Crediton, Redvers’ half-brother, begin spending a lot of time together. She finds out that Rex and Monique are going to sail on Redvers’ ship ‘The Serene Lady’ to Australia and Monique’s home island of Coralle. In the meanwhile Chantel helps Anna to get hired, as Edward’s governess who is Redver’s son.

    During the voyage, Edward is drugged. Anna suspects someone on board is planning to throw him overboard, but most of the passengers assume, it is just a prank. Once the ship arrives on the island of Coralle, Redver declares his love to Anna and gives her a letter asking for her to wait, to be with him just before he departs.

    There is an increasing sense of tension and doom during Anna and Chantel’s two-month long stay on the island; Monique grows more and more distraught and angry over the thought that Redver her husband doesn’t love her, and Anna finds out that Chantel had married Rex before they set sail. Upon The Serene Lady’s return, Chantel gives Anna a long letter explaining that she had been plotting to take over Castle Crediton and that she was in fact responsible for Aunt Charlotte’s death. For Chantel and Rex to inherit the castle and the family riches, both Redver and Edward would have to be dead, so Chantel had drugged Edward on the ship in an attempt to kill him, but the plan failed. Then, in Coralle Island, Chantel had poisoned some coffee that Monique was going to give to Redver her husband in order to frame his wife for his murder, but Chantel accidentally drinks the coffee herself and dies.

    Anna returns to England and continues to be Edward’s governess until he starts attending school. She then returns to the Queen’s House where one of her maids, informs her, that Monique in fact had died in the island of Coralle only. Redver returns to England so that he and Anna can finally begin their life together.

    It’s an old book but well written and I would give it seven out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: TWENTY THOUSAND LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA– by Jules Verne

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Initiative—

This is only an attempt to create interest in reading. We may not get the time to read all the books in our lifetime. But such reviews, talk and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about.

    ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea’ is a classic science fiction, adventure novel, written in 1870 by French writer Jules Verne. The novel was first translated into English in the year 1873 by Reverend Lewis Page Mercier. 

    The book was highly acclaimed when it was published and remains so. It is regarded as one of the premier adventure novels and one of Verne’s greatest works, along with ‘Around the World in Eighty Days’ and ‘Journey to the Center of the Earth.’

    In the book the description and detailing of Nemo’s ship—the Nautilus, is considered to be way ahead of its time, as it accurately describes innumerable features of a modern submarine, which at the time of writing this book were very primitive vessels.

    The title ‘twenty thousand leagues’ refers to the distance travelled while under the sea. 20,000 leagues (or 80,000 km) is nearly twice the circumference of the Earth. The greatest depth mentioned in the book is four leagues. The book uses metric leagues, which are four kilometres each.

    During the year 1866, ships of several nations spot a mysterious sea monster, which some suggest to be a giant narwhal. (A narwhal, or narwhale, is a medium sized, toothed whale that possesses a large ‘tusk’ from a protruding canine tooth). The United States government assembles an expedition in New York City to find and destroy the monster. Professor Pierre Aronnax, a French marine biologist and narrator of the story, who happens to be in New York at the time, receives a last-minute invitation to join the expedition, which he accepts. Canadian whaler and master harpoonist Ned Land and Aronnax’s faithful servant Conseil are also brought aboard.

    The expedition departs from 34th Street Pier in Manhattan aboard the United States Navy frigate Abraham Lincoln and travels south around Cape Horn into the Pacific Ocean. After a long search, the ship finds the monster and then attacks the beast, which damages the ship’s rudder. The three protagonists are then hurled into the water when they get hold of the “hideout” of the creature, which they find, to their surprise, to be a submarine way far ahead of its era. They are forced to wait on the back of the submarine boat until morning when they are captured and brought inside the vessel, where they meet its enigmatic creator and commander, Captain Nemo.

    The rest of the story follows the adventures of the protagonists aboard the creature—the submarine, the Nautiluswhich was built in secrecy and now roams the seas free from any land-based government. Captain Nemo’s motivation is implied to be both a scientific thirst for knowledge and a desire for revenge upon (and self-imposed exile from) civilzation. Nemo explains that his submarine is electrically powered and can perform advanced marine biology research. He also tells his new passengers that although he appreciates conversing with such an expert as Aronnax, maintaining the secrecy of his existence requires never letting them leave. Aronnax and Conseil are enthralled by the undersea adventures, but Ned Land the harpoonist can only think of escape.

    They visit many places under the ocean, some real-world and others fictional. The travellers witness the real corals of the Red Sea, the wrecks of the battle of Vigo Bay, the Antarctic ice shelves, the Transatlantic telegraph cable and the legendary submerged land of Atlantis. The travelers also use diving suits to hunt sharks and other marine life with air-guns and have an underwater funeral for a crew member who died when an accident occurred under mysterious conditions inside the Nautilus. When the Nautilus returns to the Atlantic Ocean, a pack of “poulpes” (usually translated as a giant squid, although in French “poulpe” means “octopus”) attack the vessel and kill a crew member.

    Throughout the story Captain Nemo is suggested to have exiled himself from the world after an encounter with the forces that occupied his country that had devastating effects on his family. Not long after the incident of the poulpes, Nemo suddenly changes his behaviour toward Aronnax, avoiding him. Aronnax no longer feels the same and begins to sympathize with Ned Land. Near the end of the book, the Nautilus is attacked by a warship of some nation that had made Nemo suffer.

    Filled with hatred and revenge, Nemo ignores Aronnax’s pleas for mercy. Nemo—nicknamed “angel of hatred” by Aronnax—destroys the ship, ramming it just below the waterline, and consequently sinking it into the bottom of the sea, much to Aronnax’s horror, as he watches the ship plunge into the abyss. Nemo kneels before the pictures of his wife and children and is plunged into deep depression after this encounter. For several days after this, the situation of protagonists’ keeps changing.

    No one seems to be on board any longer and the Nautilus moves about randomly. Ned Land is even more depressed, Conseil fears for Ned’s life, and Aronnax, horrified at what Nemo had done to the ship, can no longer stand the situation either. One evening, Ned Land announces an opportunity to escape. Although Aronnax wants to leave Nemo, whom he now holds in horror, he still wishes to see him for one last time. But he knows that Nemo would never let him escape, so he avoids meeting him.

    Before the escape, however, he sees him one last time (although secretly), and hears him say, “Almighty God! Enough! Enough!” Aronnax immediately goes to his companions and they are ready to escape. But while they loosen the dinghy, they discover that Nautilus has wandered into the Moskenstraumen, a whirlpool more commonly known as the “Mael-strom”. They finally manage to escape and find refuge on a nearby island off the coast of Norway, but the fate of the Nautilus is unknown.

    It’s an excellent book to read. Even e-book is available quite cheap. So pick it up. The description and detailing especially done 150 years back is par-excellence. The author indeed was a genious.

    Novels are all about imagination. And I salute his imagination. I would give this novel eight out of ten.

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Our posts are meant for our readers that includes both children and adults and it has a huge variety in terms of content. We also accept donations for our mission. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

RHYTHM … in poems

(Published in January 2019. The book contains 50 poems. The poems describe our day to day life. The book is available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha)

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****

 

 

 

BOOK TALK: MRS FUNNY BONES

Copyright@shravancharitymission

Khidki (Window)

–Read India Read initiative–

MRS FUNNYBONES

TWINKLE KHANNA

    ‘A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one—George R R Martin—American novelist. The book only elucidates the above quote, in content, language and even the format. As, one truly lives through Twinkle Khanna’s day-to-day chores, while reading it. I would hesitate from calling the title, a book. As that is a misnomer in itself. Truly speaking it is only a collection of Twinkle’s Sunday columns, tied into one hilarious spine.

    In all the two hundred and twenty five plus pages, one only breezes past Twinkle’s flurry of activities. Goodness! She has so much to do, so much to brood, so much to improve and above all so much to … guftagoo. Nevertheless, it is written quite vivaciously, but mostly in present tense. Where, one only gets to feel as if one is tied to a timepiece, as the narration keeps ticking episodically over the pages, seamlessly till chapters change: 8.15 a.m., 1.30 p.m., 1,45 p.m., 2 p.m., 2.30 p.m., 4 p.m., 4.15 p.m., 4.50 p.m., 5 p.m., 5.30 p.m., 7 p.m.

    It tosses out relevant day to day issues that are meticulously captured by the lady author. She tries to scoop out something out of nothing most of the times which is not easy to do. But then you also require that hilarious frame of mind to keep receiving the humour one after the other, at close intervals—a kind of deluge of some … subtle side-splitting.

    The story builds around her routine activities. And where, one even gets an opportunity to peek into the life of her super star husband, referred all throughout as the ‘man of the house.’ And her son, mostly and mildly reproached as, ‘the prodigal son’ together with the infant daughter as, ‘the baby girl.’ Well that is not all. There is also an interesting quick-witted Punjabi Mummyji, Twinkle’s mother-in-law. Who keeps adding enough masala to the pantomime, periodically, over the fast turning pages. But where, pages can turn for more than one reason. To be frank it is quite a bhan-mati-ka pitara if I may say so. In a nutshell, many lady readers, on quite a few pages would like to identify themselves, as the chief protagonist or at least aspire, to be one.

     Well if you’re looking for a thumping storyline or a plot this is certainly not the book. Plus you also need a particular mood to enjoy its funny occurrences and laughter filled happenings. Which in the normal context, you would get to read in the newspaper column once a week on a relaxed Sunday morning. So even the state of mind and timing are important for such titles where the plot and storyline are amiss.

    The narrative connotes to be a personal account of Twinkle Khanna—a mightily placed business woman with two children and a high profile husband. I would say she milks her day well, and also doesn’t hesitate in making a mountain out of the mole hill. At times one also wonders if it is a detailed biography of the ‘daily chores’ per se or a ‘to-do-list’ in the metaphoric sense. The book of course is an accumulation of her columns. So, laugh it out there and then. For there are no carry forwards in it.

    The book doesn’t impact you in any significant manner. But yes, floods you each moment with some interesting vignettes and needle precision sentences. The effervescence of which is not felt for long, especially when the pages are over.

    In the little room that the lady author had without a storyline or a plot she has done a good job and so have the publishers.

    A good read if you’ve not picked it up already.

*****

    This is an attempt to spark an interest in reading books. We may not get time to read all the books. But such reviews and synopsis will at least convey what the book is all about. 

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases especially cancer. Should you wish to donate for the cause. The bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

By Kamlesh Tripathi

*

https://kamleshsujata.wordpress.com

*

Share it if you like it

*

Shravan Charity Mission is an NGO that works for poor children suffering from life threatening diseases. Should you wish to donate for the cause the bank details are given below:

NAME OF ACCOUNT: SHRAVAN CHARITY MISSION

Account no: 680510110004635 (BANK OF INDIA)

IFSC code: BKID0006805

*

Our publications

GLOOM BEHIND THE SMILE

(The book is about a young cancer patient. Now archived in 7 prestigious libraries of the US, including, Harvard University and Library of Congress. It can also be accessed in MIT through Worldcat.org. Besides, it is also available for reading in Libraries and archives of Canada and Cancer Aid and Research Foundation Mumbai)  

ONE TO TANGO … RIA’S ODYSSEY

(Is a book on ‘singlehood’ about a Delhi girl now archived in Connemara Library, Chennai and Delhi Public Library, GOI, Ministry of Culture, Delhi)

AADAB LUCKNOW … FOND MEMORIES

(Is a fiction written around the great city of Nawabs—Lucknow. It describes Lucknow in great detail and also talks about its Hindu-Muslim amity. That happens to be its undying characteristic. The book was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival of 2014)

REFRACTIONS … FROM THE PRISM OF GOD

(Co-published by Cankids–Kidscan, a pan India NGO and Shravan Charity Mission, that works for Child cancer in India. The book is endorsed by Ms Preetha Reddy, MD Apollo Hospitals Group. It was launched in Lucknow International Literary Festival 2016)

TYPICAL TALE OF AN INDIAN SALESMAN

(Is a story of an Indian salesman who is, humbly qualified. Yet he fights his ways through unceasing uncertainties to reach the top. A good read not only for salesmen. The book was launched on 10th February, 2018 in Gorakhpur Lit-Fest. Now available in Amazon, Flipkart and Onlinegatha

(ALL THE ABOVE TITLES ARE AVAILABLE FOR SALE IN AMAZON, FLIPKART AND OTHER ONLINE STORES OR YOU COULD EVEN WRITE TO US FOR A COPY)

*****