Before you read Franz Kafka – an ideal preparation

Franz Kafka, as most of the readers of his works may know, is an eccentric overlay, a kind of subterfuge, used to convey nice things before you have poison thrust into your mouth… 🙂 Yes, reading Kafka is difficult because he does not make any sense to most of the minds who read him. However, if you are curious and lucky enough to establish your tuning with his works, you will be the luckiest person to revel in the most obscure of the human secrets. Kafka is more than an enigma. Kafka is not great. Kafka is ordinary soaked with glimmers of greatness that is more than enough to outshine the genius like Shakespeare.

So, here are the basic preparations you should ensure before you dive into the world of Kafka:

  1. Be ready for everything that comes your way. Don’t dare to make sense of everything you are shown, forced to read or skip. Just consume every loaf of word-bread thrown to you.
  2. Don’t apply your mind when you think that the overflow of ideas is getting better of you. Let it pass. Duck. Give respect of the bouncers that Kafka throws in his furious overs.
  3. There is no place for emotions. Yes, in the first read or even in the nth-read in some of the cases, you should not be able to find out what emotions are being fed to you or you are supposed to experience. Let it pass!
  4. Expect nonchalant passage of things making no sense at all. This is Kafka – after all! You are only expected to read and forget.
  5. Kafka is an illusion. A water bubble that no one would love to burst. We are all playing with the idea of greatness that we ascribe to Kafka and you will get to it once you read a few of his short stories.

 

All the best, dear readers! You have been prepared to read Kafka. Do enjoy!

By a contributor to The Book Blog

5 New & Old Non-fiction Books You Must Read on Truth, Spirituality & Search for God – A List

The title of this article is quite lucrative, isn’t it? Books you must read if you want to find God, truth or understand spirituality. Who doesn’t want at least one of these things mentioned above? Everybody is looking for truth and also God, in most of the cases. However, some people go on the path of the few by rejecting the whole world and choosing isolation while many others choose the path of the commons, living within the society and reading quality literature on various topics and trying their best to understand the whole concept of truth, God and spirituality, religion and other related aspects. Which is the best, I cannot say. However, if you are one of the latter kind of people, I do have a list of books that will surely be interesting for you. Here are 5 books that you must read if you are looking for spiritual insights, truth and God…

 

Courage: The Joy of Living Dangerously by Osho: This book might be a little weird if you concentrate on the title only. However, once you start reading the book, you will realise that Osho has done quite a fabulous job by writing this piece. The joy that we get by living dangerously is the pleasure that we can extract from life by living without any obligation to our worries, concerns (the unnecessary ones) and burdens. The book is about unlearning and becoming a free person who tries to live in the present and realises the most actual practical truth. So, this book is all about the truth that we seek… the immediate truth… the practical truth. Are you ready to seek your truth?

Death; An Inside Story by Sadhguru: This is, perhaps, literally giving away the topic in the title itself. However, once you start reading the book and get deeper into the contents, you will realise that the book by Sadhguru, one of the few mystics who command massive respect, has much to offer on the subjects other than death – the life itself being prominent. This is a book which is meant to be read by the readers who think that death is bad or death has some wrong connotations or death should not be a part of life. Read this book to know more about many concepts around death and also realise the truth that death is.

The Concept of ‘God’ by Vinoth M: Vinoth’s book is a very practical book that takes the route of scientific inquiry into a matter which is charged rather emotionally. However, the author has created very interesting scenarios in his book with wonderful use of analogies, hypotheses and arguments. Vinoth M’s The Concept of ‘God’ is a book which should entice and entertain the readers who are interested in knowing ‘theories’ and ‘concepts’ of God rather than knowing the religious connotations or identity of God. This is a new book, not newer than Death by Sadhguru though, compared to other books on the list. You should give it a try.

Celebrating Love by Sri Sri Ravi Shankar: Well, what is the truth which comes immediately to your mind when you realise that you are a family person? It must be something around family, people nearby, father, mother, wife, husband, kids, brother, sister and so on… so, the matter of fact is that relationships are important in life. Sri Sri Ravi Shankar’s book, with a spiritually embedded watermark, discusses relationships in details and in a beautiful way so that the readers can understand it in a better way. This is an essential read if you are worried about the worldly affairs too much. You should get solace you may be seeking. 

The Life Divine by Sri Aurobindo: Who does not know Sri Aurobindo? Sri Aurobindo’s philosophy of mental and supermental human being, by the means of a spiritual awakening or spiritual evolution, has been mentioned in the book in details and it is also considered to be the most canonical work by the author which lays the foundation of Aurobindo’s philosophy. Published way back in 1919, the book is very popular among academicians and otherwise readers who are interested in philosophy, truth, spirituality, life and so one… are you one of those? You must read this book if yes is your answer.

 

So, dear readers, this was the list for the day and I am sure that you must like this if you are seeking truth in your life. You should read some or all or any of these books as per your convenience, the availability of the books and your leisure. If you are sitting home, you can read all of the books… 🙂 All the best! To buy these books, you can go to Amazon India website by clicking below and enjoy attractive offers as well. Stay safe and keep reading!

Buy the books from Amazon India – click here

 

List by a contributor to The Book Blog

The Tailor’s Needle by Lakshmi Raj Sharma | Review

I have been reading a lot all these days. Lakshmi Raj Sharma’s wonderful novel The Tailor’s Needle popped up all of a student when one of my friends asked me whether I would like to review a ‘literary fiction’. Because I have read many novels that would come welcomingly to the category of literary fiction, I thought it must be something that is just okay, having a serious or more than serious narrative and no entertainment or interest in the storyline other than knowing the conclusion. Believe me; I was proven wrong by the way this novel unfolded and the way Lakshmi Raj Sharma has dealt with the story. The Tailor’s Needle, at the outset I will say this, is a novel that is modern and youthful in narrative and traditional and a classic in the terms of content and storyline. This is the story there, in short. And let me say about the novelist, L R Sharma, that he is one of the very serious writers writing in English and contributing a lot to Indian English literature at present! His works will be very important for the Indian literature in the coming years as he tries to connect the present with the past and also present examples for the future generation of authors to follow.

The novel has a very straight storyline. It mostly traces the upbringing of three children and their ventures. However, the entire novel revolves around one certain character who is Sir Saraswati Chandra Ranabakshi, a western-educated Indian man who honours his traditions and civilisation but completely welcomes modernity at the same time. Sir Saraswati has three children and all of them are being educated privately by an English governess. Conflict of ideas and clash of intellectual and emotional systems are often visible in the novel. Maneka, Yogendra and Sita, in descending order, are the three children of Sir Saraswati. He ensures that these kids are modern, fashionable and yet very much Indian. which is, as you read the novel you will know, a distant achievement that he seldom gets in the course of the novel.

Young readers will love the character of Maneka as she offers the vividity we, the modern readers, love. She is an independent character, a perfect role model for the modern feminists in India who want to see independent women wandering around and doing things they love, on and off the pages. Yogendra is very much a balanced man and Sita is a perfect kid of her father who obeys him all the ways. Maneka’s life, with a love affair with English man and a failed marriage with the death of her husband, drives the novel to an extent before the narrative shifts to Dehradun where another family enters the story – the Vaish family. There, Yogendra and Gauri’s love affair takes the novel ahead with many questions being raised and many seeds of hope being sown by these two families together. Many among the reading community, top book bloggers in India, have highlighted that Yogendra and Gauri’s love story comes as solace as well as hope for the future if we see it in pre-independent India’s context. I agree…

While things keep happening in the novel, usual amusement is never off the scene. Right from the beginning, the English are at the edge of their seats when they are in front of Sir Saraswati Chandra. The problems of Indian society before independence and also the problems of English rule in India and Indian efforts to get rid of this are very much present in the backdrop, giving the novel a further level of seriousness.

The novel is a perfect example of traditional fiction or literary fiction loaded with interesting elements – and therefore, keeping both the segments of readers intact, the traditional readers as well as the 21st-century modern readers of Indian English literature. You can also get a copy of this novel and see for yourself what the novelist, one of the serious Indian Authors writing in English, has offered in this novel. All the best with your read in advance!

The Tell-Tale Heart

The Tell-Tale Heart is a short story by one of the greatest writers of all time – Edgar Allan Poe. The short story was originally published in 1843, January. The short story is about a person, and the same person is also the narrator of the story, who is doing his best to make the readers feel that he is perfectly a sane person and in all his senses. However, that is only his fancy and he suffers from an extreme nervousness. And ironically, the narrator shares a story from his past to prove that he is not, and was never, an insane.

The short story is written (deliberately) in an ambiguous style and the names and details of the persons have been kept in the dark. One cannot relate this fiction to a genre which we commonly read. The person who dies and the person who kills are two distinct ones and perhaps the most distinguished ones compared to the general persons in the short stories…

This unnamed person conceives an idea that he cannot move or shake from his place and has gone rigid. He talks about some old man whom he likes except the eyes which he despises and his hatred grows to such an extent that he kills that old man. The killing – the murder – and then the confession of the narrator is the amazing parts of the story and one must read those to fully enjoy that. I won’t like to give details of those events but yes, I would surely love to talk about the art of Edgar Allan Poe and his short story’s ending.

To that end, the narrator goes to the old man’s room every night at 12 am, for seven days. Each night the narrator opens the man’s door and puts in a lantern. After the lantern, the narrator puts his head through the doorway, slowly, and then lightens the lantern so that a small beam of light shines on the old man’s eye. Each night the old man doesn’t open his eye, so the narrator feels that he can’t kill him.

The introduction of the clicking sound which the narrator thinks to be coming from the old man’s heart (who has already been killed and cut by him) clarify the story to a great extent. The Tell-Tale Heart is the heart of the old man who has been murdered without any proper reasons whatsoever! You must read this story to know better and know more. I enjoyed my share…

Review by – Simardeep Kaur

Little Women (1869)

Little Women is a late Victorian Novel by author Louisa May Alcott. The book was published in 1869 and received a good response over all from the readers as well as book critics. The novel is based majorly on the lives of four sisters: Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy. The narrative is set during the great American Civil War. The father of these four girls is away serving as a minister to the troops. The family, headed by their beloved Marmee, with the help of their kind and wealthy neighbour, Mr Laurence, and his high determined grandson Laurie. The Josephine March and her three sisters Margaret, Amy, and Beth grow up under their mother’s guidance while their father fights in the American Civil War. The full of life quartet are very close and happy despite limited means. Laurie Laurence, the well off boy next door, takes a liking to Jo, and his tutor John Brooke eyes older sister Margaret during a party. Margaret marries Mr Brooke but Jo rejects Laurie’s proposal and moves to New York for new adventures. When Beth starts to lose her battle with Scarlet Fever Jo returns to her deathbed. Sister Amy returns married to Jo’s one true love, Laurie, and we wonder if she will ever find someone to replace him.

The novel has become a classic and still sells more than the contemporary fiction which offers nothing but a pass time entertainment and a little excitement as well. While the classics always offer something which is permanent and a take-home after you read experience. Little Women is also a kind of novel which offers you an experience which you can cherish even after the read is finished for the time being. Enjoy reading this fiction by Louisa May Alcott.

The book review is written by a school girl named Aditi.

The Portable Chekhov

“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”

This is exactly what Anton Pavlovich Chekhov did to his stories. He didn’t believe in shining of the moon; he, instead, tried to search its effect on his characters. I was totally unaware of this talent although I had heard of him so much. Recently I just happened to read his short story collection. I was lucky enough to be gifted by someone the book otherwise I would never have laid my hands on such a masterpiece. But I m glad I did or I would have missed such a wonderful piece of literature.

Anton was a writer who as per his contemporaries was assumed to be forgotten after a few decades of his death. But exactly opposite of it happened. His literature kept him alive and he is read till date by students of literature or those who believe in producing class literature. His short stories with modernist outlook are far above excellence. This particular book The Portable Chekhov is a compilation of two plays one major and the other minor and 28 stories along with some of his letters. His stories cover major areas of life and are realistic at the core.

Anton still continues to remain to be one of the best story writers of Russia and also the world. The quotes from his writings are famous and are still in use by modern literary genius. Some of my favourite quotes are:

“Any idiot can face a crisis – it’s day to day living that wears you out.”

“If you are afraid of loneliness, don’t marry.”

“Idea for a short story. The shore of a lake, a young girl who’s spent her whole life beside it, a girl like you. She loves the lake the way a seagull does, and she’s happy and free as a seagull. Then a man comes along, sees her and ruins her life because he had nothing better to do. Destroys her like this seagull here.”

Wonderful !!! How well he sums up the reality of life in a light way. Moreover, the way Anton Chekhov describes the things, even the sordid details go on to become happy-handy and going…

His stories are captivating and arresting. His literary stature has made him the greatest influence on modern short story writing. His writings gave voice to the oppressed peasants and their conflict that existed with the landed gentry. Some of his stories like “The Kiss”, “The Darling”, and “In the Ravine” represent his portrayal of the human comedy. The letters convey his aspirations and convictions of life and art. His plays “The Boor” which is his earlier dramatic work and “The Cherry Orchard” which is his last and finest play is also included in this THE PORTABLE LIBRARY.

Yes, I would like to term it as a library for it has all the variety to make it one. Anton Chekhov is alive through his genius still igniting the literary fire in young aspirers. His each and every story is far above in the levels of excellence if even the complete novels of the present day are put up in front. And a work of brilliance needs no ratings or stars so I will just like to stop with a quote on life by the man himself full of hope and positivity.

“Let us learn to appreciate there will be times when the trees will be bare and look forward to the time when we may pick the fruit.”

by – Nidhi Sharma