HydRAW 2022 JuneReads
Write-ups and book reads of our members in June, 2022.
We have done well in the books read in June. Arun Kumar is still the numero uno with 21 reads (though down 7 from last month), whereas reading queen Fizza is surging with 18 reads (up 3 from last month). Once again, we have an eclectic list of books and reviews — we can say HydRAW was in good form in June.
First the write-ups and then the lists.
Muralidharan Parthasarathy (on Words) : The author shares his understanding of the backdrop or history of some slang expressions and misspelt words of Indian origin or British. The author is a Parsi and we get to know a lot about the lifestyle and culture of the community. Many of their surnames are slangs of their place of origin or the place they settled in Gujarat. And the surnames like Mehta and Vakil were linked to the professions. The surnames ending with walas could be for the domicile or profession. Punewala or Taraporewala are simply connected to the respective places whereas Daruwala is about a profession trading toddy. A Parsi family who had brought jute from Bengal to Western India were called Saklatwala because of their making ‘sacks and clothes’ out of it. He has shared his findings about the slangs the British use in England and many of the slang nomenclatures now in use in India.
Arun Kumar (on Pages and Co) : This is first in the trilogy for the middle school students. The book talks about reading, magic of books and book wanderers. Well-written book.
(on Copper Mountain) : It is a fictional work about a mining company wants to use the sacred mountain in Tibet. The politics, conspiracy etc. It’s the first book I read about Tibet apart from Buddhism.
Manohar Grandhi (on Why We Sleep) : As the title suggests this book explains in detail about a lot of things related to sleep. The author terms sleep as the main pillar for good health and suggests that all diseases or unease in the body increases with bad sleeping. He talks about different stages of sleep and why they are important. He talks about how memory consolidation happens when we sleep and how all immune functions work at optimum with good night sleep. The author lists a lot of studies that have been done on the people by deliberately sleep depriving and see the consequences. The Author has used more than 20 years of his experience it can be clearly seen. But the book becomes monotonous and too repetitive beyond a point. He keeps beating around the bush with experiment after experiment. Though I liked the book and its intention it could have been easily cut down by 50%. Because beyond a point the book seems boring.
Saini Vineeth (on An Eye For an Eye) : It’s an investigative thriller. The lead investigative officer, Kate Young, is dealing with a personal trauma while trying to catch a serial killer. While the suspense was good, the book lacked pace. I liked how the author described Kate’s trauma, but the book was filled with too many mundane details that slowed down the plot. It could’ve been much better as a novelette.
(on Mother Dear) : This is a fast-paced thriller with extremely small chapters. I found the suspense average, but the narrative is gripping, especially in the novel’s first half. Alternate chapters narrate the story of two main protagonists. I really liked how this novel deals with teen issues in the USA. Definitely a good short read
Poonam Vaze (on The Discarded) : It is a debut novel by Louis Van Schwalkwyk. Its a crime thriller set in a remote jail in Artic region. The twist is good but the plot has loose ends. But I liked the read, overall.
(on Deviance HydRAW Anthology, Vol — IV) : The name tells is deviant in every way. It’s filled with intriguing, page turning stories and hooks the reader till the end. Deviance gives the reader the entire gamut of the term Deviance.
(on The Captive) : What can I say! Though crime is the primal plot of the story, I was flabbergasted and stunned by the psychological part, i.e. section 2 of the novel. It was so gripping and I was awestruck by the author’s power to write the psyche of a criminal’s mind. She has penned in the most smashing way the reason why normal human beings become criminal. Loved the characterisation of Anthony Pastor. Section 2 is singular and makes the novel different from other crime thrillers. Her tagline on the book cover and the story’s name ‘The Captive’ is the essence of the novel. I loved the read and I finished the book in one go..😃
Fizza Younis (on Tomb of Sand) : As I started this book, I wondered if I was reading prose or poetry. For the first time in my life as a reader, I realized what it meant to watch words dance on the pages, coming to life in a truly magnificent way.
Each word, each sentence, and each phrase is woven flawlessly into a magical narrative. I don’t even care about the story and that’s saying something.
Not that the story isn’t good, but it isn’t the reason I loved this book nor are the characters, rather it’s the writing style. I’m not going to speculate on how much is lost in translation. As it stands, it’s brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
The story is of a mother and her daughter. Deeply rooted in Indian culture, it portrays how a mother is the only person who can understand her daughter and support her in a meaningful way. The same is true for the daughter. It’s a story of an eighty-years old widow who decides to go to Pakistan and find her first love. There she will, at last, reclaim her true identity.
I find it touching in a heartwarming, make-you-cry sort of way. There were points in the book when I got so lost in the narrative, I completely forgot about the plot. What was it about again? Who knows and who cares? I just devoured the beautiful words and basked in their opulence.
I got the same vibe from Tomb of Sand as I did from the family saga, One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And the latter is my favorite book of all time. I’m glad to have read this one. It is a bit slow-paced but that didn’t bother me. For me, this book was a perfect read.
Syed Shakeel Imdad (on Tourist Season) : Comprising of two novellas, the book deals with two protagonists and their experiences during the tourist season — one as a resident and the other as a traveller. The storytelling is linear yet engaging, minute and often unnoticed emotions and actions take centre stage even as the larger narrative is drawn across the board. Best part: true to the sense of being novellas, both stories leave one wandering about quite a lot as to the eventual fate of the protagonists and their lives. An easy 4/5 and at 150 odd pages, a good, quiet read.
(on Asian Absences) : A travelogue with a lyrical conjured by tying disparate experiences of the author in his travels east, the book is replete with energy, philosophical underpinnings and aphorisms that can be attributed to the author himself. Spanning India, the Gulf, Cambodia, Nepal and the elusive Shangri-La, it opens up new perspectives for the reader related to the “seemingly” known along with rapid insights into the unknown. Favourite chapter: Among Shamans (also the most detailed). Again 160 odd pages in length but not the most breezy of reads — it dictates the reader to read and contemplate deeply at each junction. 5/5.
Shavleen Kour (on Life’s Amazing Secrets) : This book is about how to Find Balance and Purpose in your Life. For this, he discusses four wheels of life: personal life, relationships, work life and social contribution. This is an engaging philosophical book that deals with deep and meaningful conversations on life between Gaur Gopal Das himself and his friend Harry. Harry, who looks all perfect in his life, is deeply suffering in his personal life. Thus, in order to show him a right way Gopal Das starts sharing his real life experiences with people whom he met on different places and trips. And this conversation ranges from human conditions to finding one’s purpose in life. What I have observed that while reading this book you learn a lot about life. Purely didactic in nature.
Dhruva Nalla (on Broken Nest) : The novella revolves around three characters Bhupathi, Charu and Amal. Bhupathi who is a newspaper editor and publisher is a busy man Charu on the other hand is a art lover, she feels lonely. Amal is Bhupathi’s younger brother he too is art lover. Both Charu and Amal share a close bond, and it reaches to its peak when Bhupathi decides to send Amal to London for studies. It’s a simple story but Charu’s loneliness is captured well in the book. This novella was inspired by the true relationship between Tagore and his sister-in-law.
Swapnil Saurav (on Communicate in English) : A textbook for middle school, it’s a collection of short stories — 13 in total. A Snake in the grass by RK Narayan, Rikki Tikki Tawi by Rudyard Kipling, The last leaf by O Henry are featured among other stories.
Usha Sreedharan (on Tomb of Sand) : For achieving a different kind of literary style, Sheeri took seven years. The wishing tree, Buddha description and missing Ma are marvelous. Reading this book gave me insight on how to style ideas in one’s own terms. Writers should develop their own concept of writing and keep writing. Refinement will be seen in successive writings. One should not bother about awards. This is her main message to writers.
- Words: From Here There and Everywhere or My Private Babel by Farrukh Dhondy
- Tales and Legends from India by Ruskin Bond
- Kotha Katha 2022 edited by K. Suresh, Mohammed Khadeer Babu
- Animalia Indica edited by Sumana Roy
- Portraits of Exile: Homecoming by Aaniya Asrani
- Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
- Pages & Co: Tilly and the Bookwanderers by Anna James
- Property of the Rebel by Allison Varnes
- Dugga by Rajiv Elipe
- Book Uncle and Me by Uma Krishnaswami
- Postcards From Bombay by Jerry Pinto
- Pishi and Me by Timira Gupta
- A Dog Called Shoo by Kavitha Punniyamurthi
- Hello, Mr World by Michael Foreman
- The Miracle on Sunderbaag Street by Nandita da Cunha
- The Case of the Missing Water by Shalini Srinivasan
- Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi
- Girls Want Azadi by Kamla Bhasin
- Everyday Superheroes by Minakshi Dewan
- A to Z of Indian Cities by Rati Malaiya
- Mohanaswamy by Vasudhendra, (tr by) Rashmi Terdal
- Copper Mountain by Thubten Samphel
- Manifest With Vibrations by Samantha Goleman
- Why We Sleep by Matt walker.
- Psychocybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
- An Eye for An Eye Carol Wyer
- Mother Dear by Nova Lee Maier
- Deviance, HydRAW Anthology, Vol — IV
- The Captive by Lavanya Nukavarapu
- The Discarded by Louis van Schalkwyk
- Five Little Pigs/Murder in Retrospect by Agatha Christie
- The Hollow by Agatha Christie
- Taken by the Flood by Agatha Christie
- Mrs. McGinty’s Dead by Agatha Christie
- After the Funeral by Agatha Christie
- On the Trail of a Killer by Cate Lawley
- Night Shift Witch by Cate Lawley
- Star of the Party by Cate Lawley
- Tickle the Dragon’s Tail by Cate Lawley
- Haunting at Fettig by Jordan Elizabeth (short story)
- The Golden Flower by TinayeWakatama (On Wattpad)
- First Bride to Fall by Ginny Baird
- The Lord Pretender by Sawyer North
- Sold on Love by Kathleen Fuller
- The Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M. Masood
- Despair by Lana Pecherczyk
- Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist by Kate Raworth
- Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Sheeri and Daisy Rockwell
- The Ivory Throne by Manu S Pillai
- Tourist Season by Jaina Sanga
- Asian Absences by Wolfgang Büscher
- Life’s Amazing Secrets by Gaur Gopal das
- Dear Stranger, I Know How You Feel by Ashish Bagrecha
- Broken Nest by Rabindranath Tagore
- Communicate in English (13 short stories)
- Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Sheeri and Daisy Rockwell
- The Second Sex by Simone De Beauvoir
- The Hard Way by Lee Child
- The Murder of Roger Ackroyd by Agatha Christie
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
- The Discarded by Louis Van Schwalkwyk