Literature student? You can be a good book critic (if you want)

I have been a book critic for more than 10 years now. In these long years of experience, I came across many authors, many kinds of books and many types of criticism from those authors. The experiences have always been varied. It did never feel like an easy task! However, it has been fun, fabulous, and always an addition to learning a new intellectual exercise. I love what I do. And I have a suggestion, if you have studied literature in college, you are an ideal candidate to be a measured book critic compared to those who read literature for fun. It is because you have the ability to study literature… do you get the catch?

I believe studying literature is different from reading it (for pleasure). Studying a work of literature allows us to learn many things by reading the work. However, reading for recreation or pleasure helps us regain our concentration and get ready for the job at hand. Reading is for weekends. Studying is for weekdays. If that helps you understand things in a better context.

In the beginning, students of literature in any language might find it difficult. Once they understand how to cope with the pressure, a whole new world opens up to them. Well, if you are still beginning and want to learn the best ways to sail across your syllabus, you can read this wonderful article to help you understand the nature of the course and also the best ways to deal with it. It is for English literature students only. (Anyone can take help and plan his or her journey.)

How to Study English Literature?

Now, coming back to the business of criticism. It is always wise to use one’s abilities to make a living. Literature students can understand the work in a smaller as well as a broader context. That also helps understand the significance of work for the time being and assume its place in the future when the taste for the time changes. For example, critics like Dr Jonson and Matthew Arnold often had it right when they appreciated or fixated on the works of their time (and also from the past). Arnold praises the works that have timelessness. Jonson does the same. In modern literature, nothing like timeless exists. Be it Hindi literature or English literature. Nevertheless, there are books that defy the current trends and try to settle for a while.

The job of a book critic is to identify the qualities in a book and bring them out to the readers who want to understand the same. Also, at the same time, a critic is supposed to highlight the shortcomings and put them in front of the readers (and authors). Having the positives and negatives about literary works may help a reader make an informed choice, and also help the authors understand the areas they need to improve. Ideally, this is what a book critic must do. However, having a literary background makes things easier. Noting down the prose and cons, understanding the aesthetic set-up, identifying the qualities in characters, comprehending the motifs, and simply understanding the works of literature as a whole helps a person with a literature background (academically) to bring out the best possible critical essay (known as a book review). Others might hit a few and miss many.

I align my thoughts in this direction. What do you think? Is book criticism open to all? Or it is for those who are serious about it and understand literature a little better than those who casually read literature and suggest others the same? Tell me your thoughts in the comments, and I will surely respond.

By Chitra for The Book Blog

Well, did you read first and then wrote? Time to welcome Read then Wrote team!

It is a usual tendency among readers of repute that they share their opinions with other people who might share the same interest in genres, authors or book series. Since I am in the business of book blogging, I know many bloggers who often share their reviews on many different book review websites in India and even global platforms. However, this is to inform the readers, the passionate ones who really care about opinions by the experts when it comes to choosing books for weekends, genre-recommendations, bestselling but over-hyped book’s fact-based judgements and so on… you guys should check our competitors and also friends who have come up with a no-nonsense platform for book reviews – the words that matter and that only! Read then Wrote team has come up with readthenwrote.com. A website that shares very short, within 1 paragraph opinions on the books the team reads and that 1 paragraph will tell you much about the book in terms of its quality, ideal readers for the same and what you might expect once you begin reading and end it. Isn’t that wonderful? Looking for recommendations? Just open the website and you will have some… 🙂

Read then Wrote operates on a simple philosophy – readers who want quick suggestions or even general suggestions while making their choices, that shouldn’t take more time than it requires. Hey, should I read this book? Yes, you can read. But, a bit of this. But, a bit of that. And, like this. Moreover, something of that sort. Nevertheless, if you like, go for it. Hold on, a bit more. Wait, something still remaining. No, no, no! Yes.

Well, this confuses the readers more than it might enlighten their opinion about the book or whether they align with the author’s intentions and philosophy or not. If a reader can read just a hundred words or a little more, not more than 130, it will likely give them a quick tour of the book. This is what motivates the readers at Read then Wrote and this is what you can expect from them once you begin following their website. We are also curious. I am for sure! However, it does not mean that long reviews or the reviews of the kind we do, generally, are useless or have lesser importance compared to shorter versions that work as quick suggestions. The simple thing that drives the passion to work is the need of the target audience or consumers or people who expect something from you. We cater to those who might need detailed views about certain books and the RtW team will try to cater to the needs of those who want just a quick signal, may be loaded with a little literary and intellectual virtue but not too much wishy-washy jargon that spoils the things at the moment!

You can visit their website: Read then Wrote – book reviews

Also, keep reading on our website, The Book Blog. We have massive updates and major content coming soon. We have read a lot recently and we will keep decorating your reading desk with more and more wonderful titles in the coming days!

 

Written by Gunjan for The Book Blog

Aurijit Ganguli – knocking the doors of myth & history with The Shambala Sutras

Whether it’s the inspiration by a few famous novelists or not, Indian English novelists have been trying their best to offer the massive reader base the fiction that takes them close to history, different hidden timelines of history and also the myth that we all love in many different versions – something that intrigues and something that entertains the readers more than any other thing could possibly do. Aurijit Ganguli, an author born in Kolkata (erstwhile Calcutta) and travelled extensively to many countries, has finally realised his inner calling for the creation of fiction and he has come up with a novel – The Shambala Sutras. Shambala is something which has always fascinated people because of various myths & history & curiosity around it. Aurijit Ganguli, who loves the style of Ashwin Sanghi as a novelist, has modelled his fiction around the myths but his artistic bend takes his writing to the level where he had been successful in making his debut novel a one-way street where you enter to come out on ‘that side’ only – you cannot put the novel down unless you finish it.

To understand the writing style of Aurijit Ganguli, one would certainly have to read the novel and find out the dots and connect them. However, based on his artistic vision and his choice of theme, subject and idea for the debut novel and also on the basis of his literary philosophy, there are the things that we can certainly assume. Aurijit, as an author, believes in emotional, intellectual and pleasure quotients in the readers and he tries to deliver the same to his audience through his writings.

Brought up in a Bengali family, as you could imagine, Aurijit was introduced to books, literature and intellectual space from an early age and his interest did not lose so much even after his life changed. Born in 1966, Aurijit did his schooling in Kolkata and completed his engineering degree from the University of Calcutta in 1989. He worked almost for a decade in engineering industry before switching to the IT industry and since then, he had been active with leading companies working majorly in the North American region. However, one thing was with him all the time – his interest in literature and his calling for something that he could not pay attention to until the publication of The Shambala Sutras in the year 2020, May.

Aurijit has done extensive research for his novel and he wanted to make it entertaining as well as realistic as much as possible. The readers will certainly find the extensive work that the novelist has done for this novel. Moreover, the art of fiction has been so subtle that the threading cannot be seen with bare eyes of the readers unless you are a critic or an extensive reader of contemporary fiction.

Aurijit’s fictional philosophy and his art of writing novels will be tested in the long run as he continues producing more novels. Nevertheless, the first one seems promising and readers must have expectations from the novelist for more to come in future. You can know more about the author by visiting the official website – https://aurijitganguli.in/

 

A story by a contributor for The Book Blog

5 Classics kids should read or their parents should recite to them

Reading classics is not a prerogative limited to people with intellectual growth only. Classic literature is a treasure that should be open for all and it is, indeed. However, when it comes to picking up classic books for kids, there is a lot of confusion that we create around ourselves unnecessarily. Why do we do so? Why cannot we pick up the best classic books that our kids should read or the parents can read it to them during their bedtime? Is it that difficult? Certainly not! We create difficulties for ourselves because we don’t understand how books function. Yes, like everything has its specific qualities and a way of functioning, the books have it as well. Today, I will tell the readers of The Book Blog about the 5 best classics that their kids should read. Please be sure while there is no upper or lower age limit to read classics, there is certainly an ideal age when a person should indulge in reading classics by himself or herself. If you want to understand more on when you should let your children enjoy the classics the way they want, you can read this article by Indian Book Critics: What age to read classic books?

In this article, we are writing about 5 best classic children literature books that every kid should read. So, the reading level is really children-friendly and they will love reading these books. They will also learn many things by reading these books. Here goes our list:

  1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll: Well, when it comes to children’s classics, many readers would certainly point out in this direction without thinking too much. This is natural because this book is not only rich in fantasy but also an ideal piece of literature in terms of acquainting the kids with values in life. There are animals who form a big chunk of the mainstream characters in the novel and that becomes even better for the kids to enjoy their time with the book. Are you ready for the adventure? Do give your children this wonderful book.
  2. Malgudi Days by R. K. Narayan: With so many talks about Swadesh and Swadeshi is going on around us, I thought nothing better than recommending this book to children with a literary appetite. Malgudi Days is a collection of short stories written by one of the most reputed novelists in India, R. K. Narayan. This work contains many short stories that contain, in turn, many lessons for life our kids can learn by reading this book. This is not only a classic but also a cult which became very famous when a TV serial was made on this book and telecasted on Doordarshan. Make sure you add this book to the list of books for kids.
  3. The Cherry Tree by Ruskin Bond: The Cherry Tree is a wonderful short fiction piece written by one of the most celebrated Indian authors, Ruskin Bond. The book also contains illustrations that the kids will like a lot. This book will not only entertain the kids but also imbibe the values and ideas in them which will help them with many things in their life ahead. A must-read book that should be read by the kids… written in a simple language, the book can be understood by anyone having an understanding of the English language.
  4. Amar Chitra Katha Books: How can you forget this publisher? They have been serving the cause of children in India in educating them about the great history that we had. You can offer your children the best experience in learning about Ramayan, Mahabharat and also our heroes from the past. Grab your copies and give your kids the best experience of reading classics.
  5. Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare: Though this is one level ahead. Why don’t give your kids (the future readers) a taste of Shakespeare right from the beginning? Lambs Tales from Shakespeare are the short and simplified version of plays by Shakespeare’s greatest writings for the stage. Be it Macbeth’s ambition or Hamlet’s dilemma or the romantic comedy in As You Like It, your kids will love these stories. Why are you waiting? Your kids will love this experience.

So, guys, these were the 5 books that I have picked for the kids. They have the right to read the best literature right from the beginning. Give them a taste of classics and they will thank you later in their lives when they understand what did you do for their intellectual and emotional development very early in their days. All the best!

 

by a contributor for The Book Blog

Do you have a story? Get it published!

We have witnessed many changes in recent years in many industries. For many of us, it is the mobile industry that has dramatically evolved and for many of us who are readers, writers and literary enthusiasts, the publishing industry has moved to the next level. In India, more than 100s of novels are launched every month and we see the number only increasing day by day. People have really turned it up when it comes to publishing. With the rise of self-publishing industry and also the rise in the ambition of writers, readers have too much to read! The publications have too many books to publish. And the authors have too many options to choose from. I don’t know where people got the idea but they are feeling no pressure to show their creativity to the world. Moreover, the reason behind this is certainly self-publishing that has given freedom to creative writers to show their talent on a bigger stage.

Blatantly speaking, traditional publishing is now a sick horse resting in the stable. They react according to their preferences and choices. Either they will publish a reputed author or someone with a rich background in their respective fields. I don’t from where a normal person will get this with a normal background but a good skill in storytelling. We have seen enough examples of self-published authors excelling in the market.
The best things about self-publishing are simple to understand. It gives the freedom to the writers to write anything and try their luck. It is customized according to the choices made by the authors.

Especially in the case of India, the writing and publishing industry has shown a stationary process without a random walk and with an upward rise. More and more devolvement is taking place in this field.
Most of the talents have good storytelling skill but they become the victim of traditional publishing because they neither confirm nor deny. In my view, I found one of the main reasons for the tremendous rise of the self-publishing industry. If you possess good skill and a nice style of crafting your words then a stage must be there to show your ability. And people were searching for such a platform where they can meet the common conclusion and self-publishing has provided it.

ultimately, the basic things are there still. The readers are the final judge of your work and content is the king. If you have good content and you know how to make the readers engaged with your work nobody can stop you from becoming the next bestseller. Just pick it up with any of the best self-publishing company in India and get your work published now! Don’t hold your story back; let it be heard and let people judge your story in the book you publish. With a story in your head, your heart can never settle. With a story in your heart, your head can never rest. So, to let your head and heart relax, you do have to get it free of the idea that might be urging you… All the best for your writing quest!