HydRAW 2022 JulyReads

Write-ups and book reads of our members in July, 2022.

Our readers expect nothing but top-notch writing to give a favourable opinion. Read the write-ups to know what we mean. Fizza Younis met her target of reading all Hercule Poirot mysteries by Agatha Christie and penned a heartfelt exploration. First the write-ups and then the lists. As usual we start with Muralidharan Parthasarathy’s informative review.

Muralidharan Parthasarathy (on The Book of Hope) : The tagline of the title is ‘101 voices overcoming adversity’. These 101 persons are survivors of chronic depression, bipolar or anxiety. Most of them have learnt to live with the disease and some of them are torch bearers in helping out those who suffer silently because of social stigma. The book is an anthology of 101 voices of hope. We find repeat gold medal winners in Olympics athletics, psychiatrists, pop stars, celebrities and ordinary people among these 101. The voices have been brought under the categories Always Hope, Acceptance, Peace, Toolkits, Compassion, Courage, The Right Words, Inspiration, Resilience, Kindness and Connection. From understanding the disease to acceptance and volunteering for treatment and overcoming the blues or living with them is the gist of the voices in various categories. Almost all of them acknowledge that only one or a few who stood by them, were crucial in their traverse from darkness to hope. This support and human touch only helped them survive the chronic disease. Both authors have struggled and survived like the remaining 99 brave hearts. Publishers Bluebird have brought out an anthology of hope for those who suffer depression and many other mental health issues.

Arun Kumar (on Classroom With a View) : It’s about Krishnamurti Foundation schools and various practices of the school. The writer worked as a teacher in KFI school. It’s about education.

Manohar Grandhi (on Atomic Habits) : This book talks about the power that small habits have on creating an identity. This book really explained how good habits can be created and how bad habits can be broken. The way the author used real life examples are really appreciation worthy. I always wondered why this book is the top selling book. I feel the reason is the simple language and the way the author connected many real life stories. I would even stick my neck out and say that if you have only one book to read on habits and personal productivity then it has to be this one.

Syed Shakeel Imdad (on Warlight) : A topsy-turvy tale set in post-war (WWII) England narrated through the eyes of Nathaniel as he grows up from a teenage boy abandoned by his parents to an employee at the intelligence archives. The narration is irregular, the plot a bit all over the places (although there glimpses of thr inimitable Ondaatje here and there) and the reader is essentially left with more questions than answers — many a time even unsure as to where one question ends and the next begins. The flow is jumpy, there is unnecessary detailing in some parts while glaring omissions in others and the end is just not enthralling or revealing enough — the hunger develops, dies, takes a rebirth and is laid to rest again — without much exhiliration, rhytm or rhyme. The pockets of genius in the writing makes the book bearable but only just. Coming from a writer from whom I began to expect timelessness (special reference to The English Patient), this is a rather forgettable, one-time read at best — it has the potential and demonstrates the same consistently without actually living up to it. Rating: 2.5/5.

Fizza Younis (on Curtain) : In March, I gave myself the challenge to read all of Hercule Poirot’s mysteries written by Agatha Christie. And in July, I completed this challenge with the last book that stars my all-time favorite detective. And it feels bittersweet. Mostly, sweet though. Because I know I can always re-read these books.
Curtain is a masterpiece in the true sense. It is undoubtedly one of Christie’s more renowned works and as soon as you pick it up, you can tell why. The plot is flawless and its execution is remarkable. The pieces of the puzzle, that will keep confusing you, will all fit perfectly in the end. Thus, completing the portrait before the Curtain falls at last.
Hercule Poirot, the famed Belgian detective is old and feeble. He is now in a wheelchair and unable to move freely. Therefore, he calls upon an old friend to come and assist him in solving a serial murder case.
Hasting’s wife has died and he finds himself unattached and at leisure. What better way to spend this time than to get back together with Poirot and solve a mystery?
In many ways, this book stands out. Until now, we have been used to Poirot taking the center stage and catching the killer. But he might not be able to do that anymore.
This book made me emotional. Partially because this is the last book in the series of books starring Hercule Poirot. But mostly, it’s because of the way it is written. Once again, the author takes us on a journey into the human psyche. What goes on in a murderer’s head? Why kill at all? And is Hercule right in his assessment that anyone who kills once will keep killing unless he is stopped?
It is Agatha Christie’s last book published while she lived; Curtain (subtitled Poirot’s Last Case) came out in 1975 four months before her death. And it proves that she is indeed the Queen of Mysteries. The story is engaging enough to pull the readers in. And the end will leave some (like me) in tears.
Interestingly, Poirot’s last case is set at the same old English manor where his first case was set, Styles. And Poirot and Hastings themselves are nostalgic. Thus, making readers feel the same.
It’s important to note here, that I have read these books in chronological order of their publication. So for me, this really is the last Poirot book. But many readers will pick it up first or randomly. Perhaps that might give them a different experience of the book. For me, it’s a very special murder mystery and I’m sure the story will stay with me for a long time to come.

Santanu Sasidharan (on Less) : Arthur Less is a lost homosexual English writer! In order to straighten himself and rediscover himself, Arthur sets on a journey around the world. During his travel, he finds that he is not a loser and a bad lover but just a person who has been undermining himself all the while. The author has done a wonderful job with the story line but fails to keep the readers gripped to the seat! The best part of the book is the language which is thoroughly enjoying. Recommended for language lovers. Personally, I didn’t find anything worth a Pulitzer, though.
The best passage from the book for me is: ‘It seems to begin before dawn with the Muslims, when a mosque at the edge of the mangrove forest softly announces, in a lullaby voice, the morning call to prayer. Not to be outdone, the local Christians soon crank up pop-sounding hymns that last anywhere from one to three hours. This is followed by a cheerful, though overamplified, kazoo-like refrain from the Hindu temple that reminds Less of the ice cream truck from his childhood. Then comes a later call to prayer. Then the Christians decide to ring some bronze bells. And so on. There are sermons and live singers and thunderous drum performances. In this way, the faiths alternate throughout the day, as at a music festival, growing louder and louder until, during the outright cacophony of sunset, the ‘Muslims, who began the whole thing, declare victory by projecting not only the evening call to prayer but the prayer itself in its entirety. After that, the jungle falls to silence. Perhaps this is the Buddhist’s sole contribution. Every morning, it starts again’.

Shavleen Kour (on The Secret) : It is such a beautiful secret about which we all should be aware, ‘ The secret to life’. As of now I can say this much only, for more deeds and have a real life experience, HydRAWbadis do read it. You will not understand and relate to this book, unless you read it by your own ❤️

Dhruva Nalla (on White Nights) : It’s a short love story about a bookish and lonely man who falls in love with a woman. The woman loves another man and the rest of the story is about whom she chooses. The story has a simple plot but the author managed to create a main character to empathise with. Loneliness theme is shown effectively in the story.

Poonam Vaze (on White Nights) : A beautiful love story of unrequited love of a man who is lonely. It metaphorically emphasises on the melancholy of loneliness…
(on Black Beauty) : This is a classic children’s literature book which is an autobiography of a high-spirited Mustang horse. A different but an excellent read. Loved reading this genre as it is untouched by many avid readers…

Muralidharan Parthasarathy

  • The Book of Hope by Jonny Benjamin & Britt Pfluger.

Arun Kumar

  • Help! My Aai Wants to Eat Me by Bijal Vaccharajani
  • Pages and Co. Tilly and the Lost Fairy Tales by Anna James
  • Gentle Giant by Michael Morpurgo
  • Pages and Co. Tilly and the Map of Stories by Anna James
  • Pages and Co. Tilly and the Book Smugglers by Anna James
  • Classroom With a View by Ashwin Prabhu
  • Salim Mamoo and Me by Zai Whitaker
  • Best Friends by Asha Nehemiah
  • Biju Spins Some Magic by Jaya Jaitly
  • Adventures of the Green Tiger by Rama Hardeekar-Sakhadeo
  • The Tiger Who Wanted to Be a Cat by Jamshid Sepahi
  • The Tiger of the River by Adrian Pinder
  • One Lonely Unicorn by Meenakshi Bharadwaj
  • I am a Puppet by Anurupa Roy
  • Art is Everywhere, Here, There and in Food by Aparna Kapur
  • Art is Everywhere, Here, there and in Everyday Objects by Aparna Kapur
  • Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins
  • The Jungle Radio by Devangana Dash
  • On the Run with Fotikchand by Satyajit Ray
  • The Egghead Detective Agency by Pika Nani
  • The Adventures of Shrilok Homeless by Pika Nani
  • Shrilok Homeless: The Ultimate Adventures, Volume 2 by Pika Nani
  • Friends of My Youth by Ruskin Bond

Manohar Grandhi

  • The Sleep Revolution by Ariana Huffington
  • Psychocybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
  • Atomic Habits by James Clear
  • Sleep Code by Pradeep and Trupti Shah
  • 4 Week Insomnia Wokbook by Sarah Dittoe Barrett

Syed Shakeel Imdad

  • Warlight by Michael Ondaatje

Fizza Younis

  • Hickory Dickory Dock by Agatha Christie
  • Dead Man’s Folly by Agatha Christie
  • Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie
  • Murder at Vicarage by Agatha Christie
  • The Clocks by Agatha Christie
  • Halloween Party by Agatha Christie
  • Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie
  • Curtain by Agatha Christie
  • Hottie on Her Shelf by Christi Barth
  • The Gunslinger’s Guide to Avoiding Matrimony by Michelle McLean
  • White Nights by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Unfortunately, It Was Paradise by Mahmoud Darwish
  • Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda translated by Ben Belitt

Santanu Sasidharan

  • Less by Andrew Sean Greer

Shavleen Kour

  • The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Dhruva Nalla

  • White Nights by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Poonam Vaze

  • White Nights by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Neena George Kunnath

  • The Power of Self Debate for Business Decisions by Joseph K

Mahboob Hussain

  • Origin by Dan Brown
  • I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
  • Unfortunately, It Was Paradise by Mahmoud Darwish
  • Selected Poems of Pablo Neruda translated by Ben Belitt



Hyderabad Readers And Writers

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