Tall Man, Small Shadow: Book Review

Author: Vipin Behari Goyal

Tall Man Small Shadow

Book Blurb:

It is my debut English novel based on existentialism. Salil loves a shadow which transforms into many characters to reveal the secrets of life. Aalya, his neighbor, is doing research in English literature. Her guide Seema is a childless lesbian. Paul, husband of Seema, is a drama director. I am the protagonist, who coins philosophies for day to day events and my wife Sulekha is the second protagonist who makes coincidences happen with her artful manipulations.

Book Review:

Reading this book was a very different experience for me. For one, I had to look up the meaning of the term : existentialism. For people like me, here is the definition that I found on internet:

Existentialism is a philosophy that emphasizes individual existence, freedom and choice. It is the view that humans define their own meaning in life, and try to make rational decisions despite existing in an irrational universe.

Interesting….very, very Interesting.

The author has done a wonderful job of weaving complex human relationships in this story. The LGBT angle was very maturely handled. Even the character’s reactions to this relationship, the confusion faced…commendable.

This is a very short book, so one can finish it in one sitting.

The characterization is very strong. One could almost visualize these characters living near you. Also, it was nice to read a story where female and male character ratio is believable, and every character is treated as human.

This is a book for romance lovers as well as philosophy lovers.

There were a few syntax errors, for example, the point of view changed from first to third person in a paragraph.

Although the concept of the cover page was interesting, I felt it lacked in execution. It was not that eye catching. If I had gone out to a book store, and had not heard how good this book was, this cover would not have encouraged me to buy the book.

Recommended Age Group: Adult

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Understanding the principle of Mass Appeal Marketing via Harry Potter

Either you’ve read them, or you’ve not…one thing is for sure..you HAVE heard about them.

The Harry Potter books are unquestioningly one of the most popular series of our times. But why is it that these books are so popular? Is it because we have become a civilization of over imaginative people?  Is it because of the hype that surrounds these books?

But then, how can “hype” convince people, both young and old, to pick up and finish a seven hundred and sixty six page book? Agreed, they might have picked it up based on the hype surrounding the book, but it would be stretching the common sense a bit too much if we believed that they finish and go for the next book because of the hype.

If we look at the marketing principles that are followed by various movie marketing strategists, one of the major principle that plays a major role in the success of a “blockbuster”  is to ensure that the movie surpasses various category boundaries. The logic behind this is that the more categories the movie touches, the more appeal it would have. Which automatically means more business. So, when we start to figure out why Harry Potter books have such a universal appeal, we could start with this strategy.

If we look at the definition of the term Mass Appeal is:

Something For Majority

Now, since it’s appeal is multi faceted, it is obvious that it needs to be analysed from this perspective.

Also, no matter what we talk about, there would always be someone sitting in some corner of the world who does not like it.

So, Harry Potter too has it’s own share of criticism.  But, like many mega popular products or services, Harry Potter has managed to win hearts of the majority of people. This has been achieved basically by having the content that caters to a substantially larger number of interests and age groups.

You may read it has a story of a young boy who goes to a wizarding school to learn magic, or you may read it as a coming of age story of a boy struggling to grow up in a complex world, or you might read it to understand the ways via which power influences the people, or to understand the complexities of human mind and emotions.

You might like action or adventure or fantasy or comedy or even psychology or history…you would find yourself drawn to this complex beautiful world.

So, while creating marketing campaign, if you are aiming for mass appeal, you need to ensure that your product or service is aligned with the needs and the interests of the majority of the people as well as would be enjoyed by people of multiple age groups.

Reblog: Jane Austen reviews ’Fifty Shades of Grey’ by E.L. James

NOTE: THIS ARTICLE WAS PUBLISHED HERE: https://litreactor.com/columns/jane-austen-reviews-fifty-shades-of-grey-by-el-james.

———————–

As well as writing six novels on the subject of love and marriage, Jane Austen kept up regular correspondence with her family, including her niece, Fanny Knight, who once asked her for advice on whether she should marry for love.

More recently, Fanny has come across the BDSM sensation Fifty Shades of Grey (Click here for book review) and, like many young women of independent mind, is unsure what message about modern romance it conveys. Unwilling to approach her mother on the subject, Fanny once again has turned to her aunt for a second opinion about E.L. James’ bestselling book.

***

My dearest Fanny

How touching that you should ask for my opinion on this novel. I received the commission with many tender feelings and in the hope that my thoughts might be of some help in guiding your own.

I had in the past imagined that a harmonious relationship between man and woman might be achieved through a lucky balance of temperaments, an ability to treat the other with respect and a cheerful acceptance of one’s own faults and infelicities.

My delay in replying has two causes, the first owed to some difficulty in securing a method of reading which would prevent discovery. This proved to be the smaller of the two obstacles. After several interruptions in the dining-parlour where I found myself forced to cast the volume under a nearby pelisse, I concealed the book within the cover of a collection of sermons by the late Rev. Ewd. Soames and was able to continue undisturbed for several hours.

The second obstacle took the form of my inability to comprehend certain of the terms used. My recourse to Papa’s dictionary proved futile and in the end I had to avail myself of other counsels. As fortune would have it, a visit was planned to the home of Mrs J-, who, as a married woman, I felt might be able to shed some light on the matter.

I broached the subject as soon as the tea was poured, explaining my difficulty and my heartfelt desire to overcome it.

Mrs J- expressed herself perfectly willing to assist me and proposed I begin with a list of those terms with which I was unfamiliar. These I had noted on the back of the weekly grocery order.

‘Clitoris, vagina, erection…’

Mrs J- stopped me there. She assisted me with some diagrams. Reference was made to bulls and cows. Once we had established those facts, I expressed myself surprised at the notion of female organs of pleasure. Could these truly be said to exist?

Mrs J assured me they did and that all women possessed them. With some reservations, I accepted her word on the subject and proceeded to enquire if she could help me judge the accuracy of some other elements of the work. To this proposal, she agreed.

Was it true, I wondered, if all marital relations required the male to beat the female with a braided leather strop? I had in the past imagined that a harmonious relationship between man and woman might be achieved through a lucky balance of temperaments, an ability to treat the other with respect and a cheerful acceptance of one’s own faults and infelicities. These were the ideals around which I had modeled my own novels – that love might be achieved through conversation, reflection and misunderstandings at country houses. Now it seemed that a whole paraphernalia of objects about which I had up to that point remained completely ignorant formed an essential part of the process. Genital clamps. Handcuffs. Bedposts. Floggers. Baby oil. I referred once more to the back of my grocery account. Were all these devices in common use by young people embarking on their first experience of Romance?

Mrs J- sought to reassure me that none of these appliances had figured in her courtship, nor as far as she was aware in those of any of her family or near acquaintance. She expressed the firm conviction that for most people, married love did not feature being tied to a wooden cross and struck on the clitoris with a crop.

We sipped our tea and fortified ourselves with a buttered scone. I then ventured to comment that in some respects the work possessed some similarities to my own: the disparity in wealth between man and woman, the seeming impossibility of their union in happiness, the interfering family—

Once again Mrs J- interrupted me. She confessed that she herself had also read the book. Everyone, it seems has read it. Even the Minister’s wife has read it. Carried along by this wave of mass approval, she also purchased a copy and read it.

‘But I have not read it,’ I said. ‘Until now.’

She patted my hand and expressed the thought that this did not entirely surprise her, then before I could ask her what she meant by that, went on to enquire as to my impression of the character of Anastasia, the young woman at the centre of the story. Did she, in any respect, resemble the women I invented for my own works of fiction?

I thought of Elizabeth Bennet and her refusal to excuse Mr Darcy’s poor behavior despite his wealth and standing. I thought of Elinor Dashwood’s cool, intelligent acceptance of her circumstances. I thought of Emma who always receives courteous behavior  because she never puts up with anything lesser.

‘Perhaps Fanny of Mansfield Park?’ I ventured.

Mrs J- demurred. Would Fanny allow a man to arrange her visits to a doctor? Would Fanny sit quietly while a man decides what she should eat? Would Fanny allow a man to attempt to win her affections with expensive gifts?

‘No,’ I said. ‘No she would not.’

Exactly, said Mrs J-. The young women I wrote about, she said, were females of sound character and independent thought. Like Anastasia, their experience of the world might be limited, but they placed enough value on themselves to resist the advances of a man whose fundamental emotional weakness meant he could only achieve marital satisfaction through the use of whips, chains and treating his partner in life as though she had the mental capabilities of a small child. In accepting this treatment (and even apologizing when some small act of rebellion threw him into a sulk), Anastasia demonstrated as much self-esteem as Mrs J-‘s antimacassar.

‘What you are saying,’ I interpolated during a lull (for she had grown rather warm), ‘is that Anastasia forms a very poor role model for any young woman happening to read this book.’

Mrs J- recovered her breath and agreed. She would not want her own daughters to believe that a man’s wealth and power excused such infirmities of character. She would not want her daughters to see Anastasia’s behavior as representing anything but a curious twist in human psychology.

‘I see.’ I replaced my teacup in its saucer. ‘Anastasia, poor child, is a flake.’

And so was Mr Grey, concluded Mrs J-. One might read about their antics with interest, but in the end, one could only feel pity for them.

We concluded our conversation on that note, with promises that Mrs J- would repay my visit soon in order that we plan our next round of charitable donations for Relief of the Poor. My account of our conversation forms the basis of my assessment dearest Fanny to which I would add this: Should you happen to encounter a single man in possession of a good fortune but in want of a wife, and his attempts to woo you include a tour of his Red Room of Pain along with an invitation to sign a contract governing your eating, sleeping, mode of dress, personal habits and hygiene arrangements, you have my firm direction to run screaming in the opposite direction.

Yours affectionately

Aunt Jane

Winner’s Curse: Book Review

Author: Dee Walker

The Winner's Curse...

Book Review:

Orphan Harsh makes it to the billionaire club with a burning vision, sheer intellect and the blessings of his political Godfather. The favours must now be paid back through a huge Guru Dakshina. To honour his Master’s wish, Harsh, with the help of his fellow IITians, sets out to create a never-seen-before governance technology around the national ID numbers, that will change the face of democratic India.

Everything is at stake: money, reputations, egos and morals. Even lives.

Will they succumb to insatiable greed in the murky games of politics, backstabbing and subterfuge or will they be redeemed by the ‘Ten Commandments’ that once forged their ideals at college?

If you thought that supreme technology and unalloyed power can bring lasting change or that e-governance and transparency can address the ills of our system, The Winner’s Curse will force you to think again. For what’s at stake is: YOU.

The Winner’s Curse: the turbulent voyage of talent and intellect in the morass of turpitude.

Review:

I really enjoyed reading this book, without a doubt, Dee Walker is a name to look forward to in the Indian Publishing Industry.

The way the entire story was weaved, the fast pace of the story line, the rhythm and the writing were all excellent.

As far as the characterizations go, the male characterization were excellent, but the female characterization were not up to the mark. I personally felt that the amount of males in the story was a bit too overbearing, even in Indian context, I do not think that almost no woman is in any of the political or large scale decision maker (and not just as a secretary to a big shot  guy).

The cover picture and the size of the book is quite perfect. The grammar and the editing was also up to the par with international books.

I especially liked the way the author had taken his inspiration of characters and corporates from the most commonly known entities around us. Like the news anchor that conducts media trials who shouts “THE NATION WANTS TO KNOW!”, we all know who he is ;)

A lot of other reviewers have said that the high number of characters was a negative point for them, but for me, it increased the allure of the story. I feel that so many characters gave interesting depth and increased the angles and the complexity of the story, and made it more realistic.

The book has a definite Indian look and feel to it, so if you are looking for a thriller or a political thriller, this is the book that would not disappoint you in the least.

The story line was complex, yet the language was quite simple. So, all in all, it is a good book.

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“This review is a part of The Readers Cosmos Book Review Program and Blog Tours.  To get free books log on to thereaderscosmos.blogspot.com

30 Day Book Challenge: Day 13: Your Favourite Author

Woa, talk of tough questions…I had easier time writing post grad thesis!

But if I absolutely had to choose, it would be J K Rowling.

I truly admire how she can write on the most dull and mundane things in the most witty and amusing way. Oh, how I wish she had written my text books.

She is truly the most versatile writer, and I honestly enjoyed all of her books.

If in case you are not aware of all her books, do click on the picture below:

Best Novels By J. K. Rowling

30day

The Tales of Beedle The Bard: Book Review

Author: J.K. Rowling, Albus Dumbledore (Notes)

The Tales of Beedle the Bard

Book Blurb:

The Tales of Beedle the Bard contains five richly diverse fairy tales, each with its own magical character, that will variously bring delight, laughter and the thrill of mortal peril.

Essential and enjoyable reading for Muggles and wizards alike, The Tales of Beedle the Bard is a uniquely magical volume. With illuminating notes by Albus Dumbledore.

Proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to Lumos, a charity working to transform the lives of disadvantaged children.

 Review:

You may be magic or muggle, you may be of sixty or six, you would enjoy this book! This is a book written for young magic kids, but is now available to the muggles as well. And just like any JKR book, this “kid’s” book is filled with sweet, nice stories that are filled with mutilation, adultery, murder and bestiality.

I absolutely adored the Dumbledore’s epilogue as well as his comments on the stories, loved the way he snached it from the library for the muggle’s eyes!

This is a part of the Hogwarts Library Boxed Set. I got this set as a gift from my most favourite person in the world, me ;P

Each story, has been mentioned some or the other time in the Harry Potter books, so reading them it was like: “Ahh…so this is what Ron was talking about!”

Definitely worth a read!

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