Visual Friday: Diverse Women Writers – Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

January 18, 2019 by Neelima | 0 comments

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By InstaScribe

January 17, 2019
by Neelima

Checking Channels: David Naimon’s ‘Between the Covers’ Podcast

I’m a big fan of David Naimon’s Between the Covers, described as one of the ten best book podcasts by The Guardian.

David Naimon talks to prominent writers of books he has enjoyed, usually books where the boundaries are blurred- there are three interviews with Ursula Le Guinn! His interviews are pretty long with extensive preparation. He seems to get the most interesting bits straight out of the authors’ mouths, probably because his line of questioning is extremely well thought out. He delves into the writing process and allows the author to get into the nitty-gritty of writing. As listeners, we are introduced to a host of contemporary authors and become acquainted with a variety of issues and opinions that form the context of our present-day lives.

To understand more about David Naimon and his podcast, it would be useful to read an interview with the man himself here. If you are a fan of deep thinking in the literary sphere, this is a podcast not to miss.

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January 15, 2019
by Neelima

Readers can’t Digest-Week 215 (9-Jan to 15-Jan)

1. John Burningham, children’s author and illustrator, dies aged 82

2. Lin-Manuel Miranda buys bookshop to save it from closure

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3. Rooney crowned youngest ever Costa Novel Award winner 


4. Namita Gokhale wins the Rs 2-lakh Sushila Devi Literature Award for fiction writing by women

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5. The backlash to Marie Kondo’s attitude toward book clutter

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January 14, 2019
by Neelima

Misleading Positivity, Mahabharata and Morrie @ BYOB Party at the Takshashila Institution in Nov 2018 (Part 8)

Image result for Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k

Abhinay spoke about The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F**k, a self-help book with a difference. Mark Manson believes that positivity is over-rated and he believes that accepting our follies and faults and the uncertainties of life is the first step toward becoming more responsible citizens. His arguments are backed by academic research.


Image result for the kaunteyas amazonAparna added a mythical twist to the BYOB Party with her book titled The Kaunteyas by Madhavi S. Mahadevan. The Mahabharata can never become redundant as more and more authors in India are exploring varying points of view and in almost every BYOB Party at one point in time, a Mahabharat-based book or discussion was common fare. In this book, it is Kunti’s destiny that is explored. She leads a normal life until she misuses the boon Durvasav gave her. Her life is a series of obstacles; her husband Pandu loses the throne to Dhritarashtra and dies once the Pandavas are born. To complicate the inheritance battle, she is mother to an illegitimate child, Karna. “While Draupadi’s suffering is more graphic, Kunti’s is more bearable,” Aparna said.

Image result for tuesdays with morriesPriya swears by Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom. The book talks about getting a second chance with your mentor. The author meets his long-lost mentor, Morrie who is dying of ALS and every Tuesday, he learns the lessons he thought he had lost.

Here’s an interview with Mitch Albom.

And with that, we come to the end of one very enlightening BYOB Party.

January 10, 2019
by Neelima

The Silent Treatment @ Link Wanderlust

Keith Kahn Harris is a published author and yet he often faces the most common disheartening phenomenon that most writers face with. The Silent Rejection. In his essay, What’s worse than rejection?, Harris has often wondered why the polite enquiry elicits a zero response and hours of humiliation. He knows that editors are busybodies but he does not appreciate their reticence. He wants to get their attention somehow even if it means he must turn into an atrocious stalker, not atrocious really, just stalker.

“Editors have always had the power to control access to publishing platforms. Today, though, their power and responsibility is greater than ever. In a world of online noise, the desperation to make one’s voice heard can be overpowering. It’s easier than ever to fire off an email submission. And editors – part of a profession that, in some organisations at least, has been hollowed out and given greater and greater responsibility at a far younger age for less money and job security – have to cope somehow with the flood of supplications to be heard. Too often, editors cope through cultivating a strategic silence. Those who have not submitted work for publication might think that being a writer is a process of acceptance and rejection. Stories of famous writers who succeeded after dozens of rejection letters are common. But this is not a fair representation of publishing today.”

One way that you could negotiate this sphinx-like silence is to request a return receipt or install an email tracking tool. Read this article for more.

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January 8, 2019
by Neelima

Readers can’t Digest-Week 215 (1-Jan to 8-Jan)

1. Feminist Library saved from closure as supporters raise £35,000

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2. Ingrid Michaelson Is Writing a Musical Adaptation of The Notebook

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3. Rupi Kaur writes foreword to Gibran classic as 2019 brings thousands of books into public domain

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4. PW Takes Over the Millions

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5. Thousands raised for London publisher after £100k of stock lost in Croydon fire

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January 7, 2019
by Neelima

Communication, Everyday India and Matrimonial Ads @ BYOB Party at the Takshashila Institution in Nov 2018 (Part 7)

Image result for transactional analysis amazonAnish Nair emphasizes that if there are two books you need to understand how better to communicate in the world today, read Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman and Transactional Analysis in Psychotherapy by Eric Berne.

Dr. Eric Berne has been credited with developing one of the most innovative approaches to psychotherapy. “The book is not technical and so it is easy to read. In everyone, there is a child and a parent and our responses to people come from these residues within us. So when I talk to my child, I may be imitating my own parents and if I instinctively dislike someone that is the child in me reacting to the parent in the person I dislike. A book you must read to understand how best to communicate with others,” Anish said.

Image result for Mother Pious Lady: Making Sense of Everyday India amazonAshu talked about a delightful non-fiction called Mother Pious Lady: Making Sense of Everyday India(the term Mother Pious Lady is liberally used in matrimonial adverts), a compilation of Monday columns by social commentator Santosh Desai. Desai likes to examine all the idiosyncrasies of Indian life be it antakshari or auto rickshaws. Get a feel of his style:

The auto is the urban rat: a wily, crafty creature that wriggles its way through the urban sewer. The auto deals with the road on a second-by-second basis, recognizing that the Indian town is the abode of the Constantly Changing Circumstance. Twisting and turning constantly, the auto dribbles its way through traffic, mankind and chaos in no particular order. Every inch of territory is fought for using not courage but guile. The auto defies the idea that the road is a straight line but sees it as a chessboard, contemplating the next move as if a world of options is open to it.

In many ways, the auto is perfectly at home with twisty by-lanes, gullies and mohallas and mimics their lack of linearity. In fact, even on a straight road, the auto contrives somehow to avoid linearity as it zigzags its way out of sheet habit. The auto, like so many other things in India, almost actively seeks to subvert order by insinuating itself wherever it can. It brings to us a vastly enhanced sense of sub-atomic distances by intruding so close into the vehicle just ahead that distance becomes a state of mind rather than a state of being.

The auto is the one vehicle that moves in three-dimensional space, spending as much time off the road as it does on it. This it owes to the nature of Indian roads as much to its own design. This results in a unique ability to transfer the topography of the road into the passengers’ innards, converting road bumps into digestive experience.

The key to understanding the auto is to understand its design. The principle governing its design is perhaps a world view that celebrates compromise not as a “lesser choice” but as “inevitable, and eventually, the only sustainable choice”.

Take, for instance, the speed at which the auto is capable of travelling at. It is significantly faster than a cycle and much slower than a car but looked at from the reality of Indian roads, it travels at the ideal speed. Any slower and cycles would zip past, any faster is not possible given the nature of the traffic and the quality of the roads. Its suspension too is self-limiting, being designed for its speed; the moment the auto begins to travel faster, one’s insides mimic those of a food processor’s. The auto represents the ideal of personal transportation, but barely so. It is a shanty-on-wheels, offering just about adequate protection against the elements, which it more-or-less keeps out, without offering any real guarantees.

Image result for Lokayata/Carvaka: A Philosophical EnquiryThe conversation about distinctly South Asian quirks led to the mention of a controversial matrimonial ad for the elite. While marriage evokes homogenous sentiments in Indian in general, there are some who like to oppose the trend. Sowmya spoke about the author of Carvaka,  Prof Gokhale, a brahmin who wished to marry a non-Brahmin. In his book, Prof Gokhlae speaks about a purely secular and rational exercise within the Indian philosophical traditions—the Lokāyata/Cārvāka school of philosophy.

More books in Part 8.

January 4, 2019
by Neelima

Visual Friday: Diverse Women Writers – Shashi Deshpande

This year, we will be looking at the works of diverse women writers. Let’s start the year with some unique voices!

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By InstaScribe

January 3, 2019
by Neelima

Checking Channels: Brandon Sanderson’s BYU Lecture Series

This year, we’ve started a new segment called Checking Channels and here we’ll be looking at videos and podcasts about writing.

I came across a writing mentor called Brandon Sanderson, a New York Bestselling author whose lectures at BYU are all available for free on YouTube. He was on the shortlist for the David Gemmell Legend Award eight times in seven years and he won the award in 2011. His BYU lectures were recorded by a student, Scott Ashton, and became an instant hit.

The introductory lecture I listened to was pretty long…it went on for fifty-eight minutes. There are twelve videos, each dealing with different aspects of writing genre fiction including character, dialog and plot.

The video I watched provided an overview of the sci-fi and fantasy writing craft. Sanderson throws some home truths out there- like we don’t need to be slaves to tropes. He offers what he calls a toolbox and he talks about the importance of writing groups: ‘J. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis were in the same writing group.’ Writing well is also about critiquing well as it’s only when you know how to critique work by others can you look at your own work objectively.

If you have the time and are really inclined to write genre fiction, it would be worth investing time in listening to his lectures as there are very few sci-fi and fantasy mentors whose lessons are so generously available.

Check out his YouTube playlist here: