Category Archives: Books

Why you should read everything with Ferrante’s name on it

By Nivriti Butalia

Lila’s eyes narrowed.

I wish I had counted the number of times Lila’s narrowing eyes occur in the four books that make up The Neapolitan Novels. Does Elena Ferrante, the author, like repetition? Did she forget how often she resorts to it or was the descriptor deliberate? It’s there, a lot. In My Brilliant Friend, in The Story of a New Name, in Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay, and in, The Story of the Lost Child, all published between 2012 and 2014.

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Train rides without Tinkle and Shikari Shambu were no fun

By Sushmita Bose

A couple of months ago, when I was in Kolkata for a family wedding, I’d visited a mall. There was a bookstore my nine-year-old niece and I discovered, tucked away on the third floor. Intending to introduce her to Enid Blyton, I wafted down the aisles only to stop short at a display counter showcasing comic-book copies of Tinkle and Amar Chitra Katha (let’s call the latter ACK from hereon). Enid Blyton temporarily forgotten (I eventually managed to get to her “corner” an hour later), I pulled across a couple of beanbags, plonked myself and my niece down on them, and started rifling through the offerings. Continue reading Train rides without Tinkle and Shikari Shambu were no fun

How to write an unauthorised biography of a film star

By Anamika Chatterjee

It is anything but easy to tell the ‘untold story’ of a Bollywood star. Yasser Usman should know. A senior film journalist, he has recently penned an unauthorised biography of Sanjay Dutt, titled The Crazy Untold Story of Bollywood’s Bad Boy (published by Juggernaut) after penning the life sketches of veteran actors Rajesh Khanna and Rekha. The actor, however, seems less than impressed. Recently, he issued a statement saying, among other things, that the book was “partly based on my old interviews but rest all seemed to be based on hearsay, 1990s tabloids and gossip magazines”. In a conversation with Khaleej Times, Usman stands by the “extensive research” that informs his book and, of course, why Sanjay Dutt makes for a fascinating subject!

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What the Twitter part of our brain likes, and other stories

By Anamika Chatterjee

How does one define ‘modern Muslim identity’ without boxing it into lazy stereotypes? One of the more poignant books on the issue was British Pakistani writer Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year. Come March, and Shamsie will be in town to be part of the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. Ahead of her appearance, Shamsie speaks to us about the need to address political anger in modern literature. Continue reading What the Twitter part of our brain likes, and other stories

“I write in a language that I understand. I am not elite”

By Anamika Chatterjee

Imagine being called the JRR Tolkien of India. Penning books that have sold four million copies. Production houses vying for the film adaptation rights for your book. Amish Tripathi, 43 years old, is living that dream. In 2010, the banker-turned-author self-published his first book, The Immortals of Meluha after the manuscript was rejected by several publishers. The stories spun off a series, and Tripathi became a household name. The vivid world located at the heart of Hindu mythology has appealed to millions of readers, even though critics have often frowned upon the linguistic merits of his books. In a conversation with Khaleej Times ahead of his appearance at the Reader’s World Book Fair today, Tripathi tells us what you need to learn, and unlearn, in order to be a bestselling author in India.

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She wrote about her life as an Arab immigrant in Germany

By Maan Jalal

One of the most powerful takeaways from reading Souad Mekhennet’s memoir was something her grandfather told her. The people with power are the ones who write history, he said. This statement is something that proves true, time and time again, in Mekhennet’s life. It is the foundation for the work she does and what drives her to put her life at risk as a journalist.

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