Before you start writing your English literature paper – keep these points in mind

Writing answers in examinations is an important aspect of anyone’s career. One has to impress the examiner in such a way that maximum marks are awarded for the answers attempted by the examinee. Failing to do so may result in lesser than expected marks or anything else other than what the examinee might be expecting. Well, this article is for those students who are studying English literature as their major. And this is a kind of heart-to-heart talk because I have also been a student of English literature for many years. So, what are the points that you can consider while attempting an answer in your English literature examination? Keep reading this article.

Plan the answer: An answer has, generally, three parts to it – it begins; it continues; it ends. That means, it should have a beginning, a development and a conclusion. All the parts should be connected and logically flowing in a direction, a direction that points to a convincing conclusion where the examiner must see what you began, explained and concluded.

Take care of the word limits: When you plan your answer, you should keep a note of the word limit that your question paper suggests. While a few always want to go beyond the specified limit of words, it does not bode well with the examiners any day. They want to see the answers well within the specified word limit and that also shows an examinee knows how to put his or her opinion within the rules of engagement. So, always keep your answers within the limit.

Keep quotes and references handy: If you are a versatile reader, it should be easy for you. Always remember the key points in a drama, a novel or a short story. For poems, do try and remember a few lines, important ones, that you can use in the answers when the time comes. Answers decorated with references and text from the specified work of literature always impress the examiners more than an answer written dry and plain. So, this part becomes important. Your memory should be supercharged with lines from the texts you have read.

If you want to understand the ideas to make your answers in English literature appropriate, subtle and mark-fetching, you should read opinions from the experts themselves. You can follow this link to understand the ways you can enhance your answer writing practices. Here it is: How to write answers in English literature

 

Always remember one thing, no expert can make you what you are. You can only read and learn from the opinions of others. At the end of the day, it is you who is going to attempt those answers in the examination hall. So, always read the primary text to understand it the best way. And then make sure you read the secondary texts to understand what other literary personalities think about a particular work or idea. That will help a lot and you can utilise it when it comes to validating your opinions and perspectives. All the best!

 

Chitra for The Book Blog

Seema Seth offers her thoughts on love – Some Love Only Once: The drone story for young audience

Some Love Only Once is a distinct book from all the other books of contemporary literature. I haven’t read this kind of book before. Trust me, reading this book was a sheer pleasure. This is unique. There are no chapters. There are no parts. There are no sections. There is no antagonist, so no planning and plotting. And as such there are no heroes and heroines. The book just flows irrespective of anything and makes a memorable ending. Now you may be curious to know what this book is and to who it is targeted?

Fact: The book has less than ten pages. (Surprised? Read on.)

As the title of the book suggests, this book falls into the romantic genre. If we try to interpret the title, it broadly portrays two perspectives. Firstly, it points out the love that is prisoned in the cage of the poor or cheap mentality of a couple. In spite of being Free, it is not been given enough freedom to fly in the boundless sky. And thus, it is limited to physical intimacy or pleasure. Secondly, if we observe more closely, then we will realise that it talks about pure love. The love that happens only once in a lifetime. And when we allow love, we feel calm, we feel serene. It fills us with clarity. It completes two souls who embrace love. How do you see it, I leave it to you.

The story of the book starts off with the birth of honey bees in a hive. It pictures the beginning and culmination of the lives of male honey bees (the drones). But, in its womb hidden an important lesson of life. The story indirectly tries to put forth the issue of Fleeting Love or Love that changes over time. This issue has become really big and seeks the attention of people. It is apparent that today’s youth are unable to emotionally and mentally settle in their life. They are in search of love that is unconditional. They are struggling hard for it. And in their hunt for true love, they sometimes become so vulnerable that they give mere attraction the name of love. And once the newness of this relationship wears off, love starts to change.

In the times when we are seeing a huge overflow of love stories with no heads and toes in the market, this book by reputed author Seema Seth speaks volumes. She hasn’t spoken anything about anyone or anything in particular. She has just narrated a love story in a very unique style and readers will surely interpret the message correctly – I do believe so. And let me also put it forth to the readers of The Book Blog that Seema’s book is not only for a young audience but for anyone who wants to read something peculiar, once in a time and meaningful. Reading this book will not take more than a few minutes of your busy life. However, the way this book has been written makes all the difference and the message that it delivers makes it totally worth the time you invest in reading it.

Buy the book from Amazon – get a copy here

 

Opinion piece by the blog team, The Book Blog

Before you criticise Chetan Bhagat (again) for his writing style or lack of literary qualities, think – the thought

Slandering Chetan Bhagat is one thing everyone loves to do. This act does not come out of merit. Criticising someone on facts is an ideal thing to do. Many do it. However, slandering someone without knowing the work is a job that tells how frustrated some people are!

I am not defending Chetan Bhagat. I am not defending his poor writings. I am not telling people should read him. This article intends to hold a mirror to those ready with daggers without knowing the hole to dig. Yes, Chetan Bhagat is a novelist who works on the same framework. However, have you read any of his works? Have you ever tried to discover why does he do so?

Traditional readers and book reviewers in India, in general, are always against anything that Chetan writes. They do have the right to do it. However, what is the reason behind Chetan Bhagat working on the same themes time and again? Many research scholars have tried to bring different aspects behind Chetan’s fictional craft. Some papers explore the wide range of social issues that the author fuses with local themes in his novels. Why do research scholars bother to work on an author whom the world belittles?

Chetan Bhagat rose to fame on the horizon of Indian English literature unexpectedly. While there may be debates on this phenomenon, no one can deny it happened. His novels are shallow, without literary richness, and one-time-read. However, if you get into the depths of the themes of Chetan’s novels, it will be a surprising discovery. This author has tried to portray the issues that the population of the time faces day in and day out. Relationships, love, friendship, job, frustration, dreams, heartbreak, break-up, hook-up, one-night stand, sex, movies, politics and governments – things that synchronise with the thoughts of today’s generation feature in the works of Chetan Bhagat. Traditional authors, conventional critics, and intelligent book reviewers may dislike these things. However, readers do love reading Bhagat’s novels. And that is why he is immensely successful today!

Yes, you can find faults in his style. He writes with an intention to keep his works bereaved of literary riches. He brings drops language to a level that we can call sordid. His novels are dry and singular. And there are other things that we can hold against the novelist. However, one has to substantiate these arguments with evidence. If you do that, you are a critic of repute. If you do that because others did so, you are not a critic in good faith!

We should not forget one more point about the novels of Chetan Bhagat. His writing style (simple, otherwise) has created the space for authors who write anything they like. Writers like Nikita Singh, Durjoy Datta, Ravinder Singh, and many others have followed the tracks made by Chetan Bhagat on his way to success. No one can deny it!

At last, before we tend to criticise someone, we should ideally look for all the possible ways to substantiate the criticism. Otherwise, we become a part of the gathering, knowing nothing about anything and pretending to know everything!

All the best!

 

by Alka for The Book Blog

Dewdrop and Banyan Tree by Ramachandran Rajasekharan – Book review

Poetry is the sweetness that can turn your summers into pleasant memories. It can also render the pleasant heatwave that may surround your winter bed with a lovely atmosphere. In short, what I mean by these enthusiastic analogies is that poetry is charming. Poetry has the power to make you feel happy and jolly, doesn’t matter what mood you have been in before. Poetry is powerful. I enjoy reading poetry more than anything else. It has many reasons. The first and the most important is that you don’t have to spend too much time understanding the plot, the characters and keeping in mind all the major episodes as you do while reading a novel. While you read poetry, you can simply continue reading, admiring, appreciating and getting pleased by what you read.

I have recently read Dewdrop and Banyan Tree, a poetry collection written by Ramachandran Rajasekharan. The poet is almost on the verge of his retirement from his professional life. He has started writing poetry too late in his life. However, once you start reading his poetry collection, you will forget everything else about the poet and his life. His poems are persuasive and compelling. The way he introduces his ideas and brings his imageries into play takes the readers into the past and guides them into envisioning the future of mankind… everything about Ramachandran Rajasekharan’s poetry collection is mature and exciting. No reader, I guess, will have to say anything about the poet’s first poetry collection other than the style of his poetry and its beauty.

There are 50 poems in this collection. There is a poem having the same title as the poetry collection itself. Dewdrop and Banyan Tree. That poem is about the meaningfulness of life and how we can ensure our days are spent making others happy and smile. Sweet, short and having the strength to persuade anyone… it has been the style of the poet throughout the collection. Ramachandran Rajasekharan has written in simple words. He did not opt for difficult words and too cryptic a style of writing as many other poets in their beginning may have opted for. And yet, you will find that the poet has been at the top of his prowess. I cannot say flawless because there are, at times, many things that recur in this book. You will find the same theme in several poems, at times. However, it might not be a parameter to judge a poet’s works. What a poet thinks and what he writes is entirely his domain.

There are a few poems that are inspired by the poet’s parents. You will find the very first poem which is inspired by the poet’s mother’s work. There are a few more such poems in the collection. This shows how sensitive is the poet toward the art form we call poetry. It is a sweet gesture as well. To comment on the poetic relevance of this collection, it is certainly way better than anyone in his debut poetry collection could have done. Ramachandran Rajasekharan offers his thoughts in a style that is not new but worked in a newly devised way, bringing newness to the age-old themes of life, spirituality and philosophy. The simplicity and straightforwardness of the poet have decorated the entire length of this poetry collection. You will find it.

You can get this poetry collection in Kindle or Paperback format from Amazon India. Click the link below to buy the book:

Get a copy – click here for the Amazon India book page

 

Review by Puja for The Book Blog

Find your book’s critics wisely – advice for first-time self-published authors

Many authors are often confused about many things at the beginning of their writing career. It is like a journey that sadly begins with a note of confusion. Am I going the right way? This is the question that keeps ringing in the ears of anyone who begins the writing journey with self-publishing as the stepping stone. It is natural. Self-publishing sounds promising at the beginning of the career when no traditional publisher is ready to bet big on a newcomer. Although, once an author realises that there is hardly a thing like traditional publishing in today’s market unless someone is a celebrity, famous or notorious. Nevertheless, we can agree on one fact that there is confusion for newly self-published authors. A number of the concerns are related to reviews as well. And, in a hurry to look solid, many authors tend to come down heavily on critical feedback. To begin with, this is a career-suicide move. Don’t argue with your critic just to prove a point that ‘you think’.

Arguing unnecessarily with the critics or book reviewers writing for various book review websites might decrease your chances of getting future books reviewed by them. Yes, if you believe that replying to someone is absolutely essential and your case demands attention, you can use proper channels such as email or comment section to put forth your ideas in a constructive and nice way. Going overboard might ruin the conversation. And since a beginner is a beginner, at the end of the day, your loss is way more compared to the loss of a book by one author for the critics or the book reviewers.

Yes, there are critics who take the word ‘critic’ in a very contracting sense and they tend to criticise anything they find to read. For those critics, staying away from them might be a very good strategy you can think to employ. Getting a very bad review is worse than getting no review and leaving your readers an option to look it up themselves. Be careful when you choose critics for your debut book. There are very balanced, neutral and fine book reviewers out there on many literary blogs who are very good at reviewing books. Yes, you might be charged a reading fee and that’s totally worth it if you get nice, honest and constructive feedback for your writing.

Criticism is something that an author cannot avoid. Moreover, one always learns from criticism. Critical feedbacks are the motivation that keeps an author running for the idea called improvement. You don’t have to be too touchy about feedback on your writing. Learn to accept things and use them constructively for the betterment of your writing. However, you do need to be careful when you choose book bloggers for the review of your debut book. This is a make or break situation because you are just starting. At times, therefore, be safe than sorry actually works. Hope you have learnt something from this poet. All the best!

 

By Alka for The Book Blog

Help Baby Walrus by Ilia Tversky – Review

Though I have all the years on my back and the long list of books I have finished reading in those years always lingering to remind the hell of a reader I have been, my fascination with poetry is known to all! This passion for poetry has taken me to different lanes of literature, across the languages and across the lands of the world. I have admired Indian poetry written in various languages and also British, American, Spanish and Irish and many others. And this search has landed me, this time, to the land of animals and their distinct, humorous and amazing acts – Ilia Tversky’s debut poetry collection – Help Baby Walrus. The title of the poetry collection comes from the first poem itself.

Key highlights of the poetry collection: 

Ilia Tvresky’s poetry collection, Help Baby Walrus, comes with sketches. And this feature makes the poetry collection really cool, helpful and enjoyable for kids who love reading rhyming poems and enjoying the images that connect with the thoughts, actions and themes of the poems. We all had our fair share of picture stories in our days. In Hindi, we used to read Chitra-Katha. So, modern kids will enjoy the images of animals that set the theme of the poems.

The language is very much children-friendly and there will be no trouble reading and understanding the same. Anyone with moderate skill in reading English will find it interesting and simple to navigate this book. So, kids who study in class four or class three or even lower will be able to enjoy this poetry collection.

The poems don’t only offer one kind of output. In a collective sense, the poems offer entertainment, excitement, stories and also many moral lessons for kids or anyone who reads the collection. You will find it evident as soon as you begin reading this book. However, it is up to the readers to take home whatever they want to. To me, these poems offer joy and happiness, a jolly-go version of the world where people and animals leave together without any fear from each other. Also, the poems subtly carry messages of love, satisfaction, peace and harmony.

Should children read this poetry collection? 

Of course! It is written for kids and anyone with a taste for rhyme and reason will certainly enjoy this poetry collection. I offered this book to my nephews and others around me. They all enjoyed reading it loud because the lines often rhyme and create a rhythmic effect. Well, once they started reading it, they had many questions. So, if you are offering it to children you know, be ready to be asked many questions and be kind enough to clear their doubts. You will love those conversations.

You can get a copy from Amazon India and make someone’s day delightful. Click the link below to grab a copy in Kindle or paperback version as you prefer.

Buy the book now – click here to get it from Amazon India

 

Review by a blogger for The Book Blog