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Book Review: The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Canterville Ghost by Oscar Wilde

Genre: Fiction, Classics
Book Name: The Canterville Ghost
Author: Oscar Wilde
Pages: 126
Publication Year: 1887

After completing a short horror story, it was time for me to pick up another. And since I am already impressed by Oscar Wilde’s writings, why not a light humor induced ghost story is what I thought.

It’s a general notion that people are scared of ghosts. However, in the book, we see a family comprising mother, father, 1 son, 1 daughter and twins, who have specifically chosen to live in such a place with the ghost. And all this made this into a fun light reading. It has the typical Oscar Wilde style writing, though I must say I preferred the books I had read before – The Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband.

Set in the 19th century, The Canterville Ghost spelt the differences between American and England cultures, while having a romantic interlude in between. However the book may not be considered truly mind blowing since now we have TV channels flooded with petty comedy shows.

Recommended for fans of Oscar Wilde and lovers of classic books.

P.S: It is available free of cost on Amazon Kindle version. So what you waiting for! Shop and enjoy…

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
This is Oscar Wilde’s tale of the American family moved into a British mansion, Canterville Chase, much to the annoyance of its tired ghost. The family, which refuses to believe in him, is in Wilde’s way a commentary on the British nobility of the day and on the Americans too. The tale, like many of Wilde’s, is rich with allusion, but ends as sentimental romance.

About the author:
Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde was an Irish playwright, poet and author of numerous short stories and one novel. Known for his biting wit, and a plentitude of aphorisms, he became one of the most successful playwrights of the late Victorian era in London, and one of the greatest celebrities of his day. His novel, The Picture of Dorian Gray (1891), and social comedies Lady Windermere’s Fan (1892), A Woman of No Importance (1893), An Ideal Husband (1895), and The Importance of Being Earnest (1895) established his reputation. Several of his plays continue to be widely performed, especially The Importance of Being Earnest.

As the result of a widely covered series of trials, Wilde suffered a dramatic downfall and was imprisoned for two years hard labour after being convicted of “gross indecency” with other men. On his release from prison, he lived in obscurity, and died in poverty.

Website: www.cmgww.com/historic/wilde

Rating: 7/10

Read reviews of other books by Oscar Wilde on this blog – The Importance of Being Earnest and An Ideal Husband.

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Book Review: The Basement by Chad P. Brown

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Basement by Chad P. Brown

Genre: Horror, Short Story
Book Name: The Basement
Author: Chad P. Brown
Pages: 13
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Three Crows Books

Are you scared of horror stories? No? But are others around you? You can then read/ see all on your own or find a very pleasurable person to give you company for the movie. I, for one, literally scared of such things, had a weird notion in early college days that once I fall in love with a guy, I will go and watch a horror movie with that person on big screen. Luckily, I fell in love, and did not try any of these antics, even at home!

On my recent flight, but, I did pick up such a book, highly recommended, but a mere 10-20 pages story. And I was like – why not give it a try after so many years. As if me being afraid has stopped me in doing something! The latest example being para-gliding. Coming back to writing about the book, huge praises to the author for putting together just the right amount of everything – no romanticism and no blowing things out of proportion. But call it my overactive imagination, I could imagine the scenes rolling out on big screen and the end, oh let me not spoil it for you now.

For the people who love scary books, series or movies, this may not be up to their standard. But tell me, what is that one thing that haunts you and can you face it? And if you ask me, shhhhh…

P.S: Since it is available free of cost on Amazon Kindle version, shop and enjoy…

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
On a dare from her best friends, Heather goes inside the town’s haunted house, where Frank Blackwell killed his wife and then hung himself in the basement. But while in the house, Heather is confronted by a ghost from her past, her mother who died accidentally one year ago. Now, Heather must not only escape from the evil lurking inside the house, but from the demons of her own past.

About the author:
Once Chad P. Brown outgrew his childhood fears of haunted houses, clowns, and toy monkeys with cymbals (although those still creep him out a little bit), he discovered a dark love for writing and an affinity for macabre and eldritch matters. He holds a Master’s in Latin from Marshall University and is an Affiliate member of the Horror Writers Association. In October 2011, he released his first horror novel, The Jack-in-the-box. He has written many gothic, zombie and dark fiction books till date.

Website: www.chadpbrown.com
Twitter: @chadbrown72

Rating: 8/10

Book Review: Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra by Ruskin Bond

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra by Ruskin Bond

Genre: Short Story
Book Name: Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra
Author: Ruskin Bond
Pages: 108
Publication Year: 2000
Publisher: Penguin Books

What do you do when you visit a place for holidays? Do you search for books? Then welcome to my world!

I visited my in-laws place last month and at first glance, all I noticed in the book shelves were bulky and thick books of war and bygone eras which got me intimidated. For your information – I am the one who usually prefers to read light fiction unless it is a murder mystery. However, my holidays are supposed to be perfect only when I complete at least 3-4 books. And lo and behold, there was this book Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra by Ruskin Bond. And out of all points already mentioned, just imagine my happiness since I was reading this book in Dehradun itself.

Even though I had heard a lot about Ruskin Bond, I had somehow never read any of his books. So without further ado, I picked this light book (weight-wise) and immediately gave it a go. And what an absolute delight this was to read. I completed it in 3 hours straight. This book, in fact, reminded me of Jungle Book series I had watched as a kid.

Tell me what do you know about award winning writers – that they write in such complicated statements and using such vocabulary that one has to definitely read the book in Kindle, a paperback or hard bound copy will definitely not do. Ruskin Bond writes in such a language which will directly speak to you heart and remind you of your own childhood days.

A must read book for all!

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Fourteen engaging stories from one of India’s master story-tellers.

Semi-autobiographical in nature, these stories span the period from the author’s childhood to the present. We are introduced, in a series of beautifully imagined and crafted cameos, to the author’s family, friends, and various other people who left a lasting impression on him. In other stories we revisit Bond’s beloved Garhwal hills and the small towns and villages that he has returned to time and again in his fiction. Together with his well-known novella, A Flight of Pigeons (which was made into the film Junoon), which also appears in this collection, these stories once again bring Ruskin Bond’s India vividly to life.

About the author:
Ruskin Bond is an Indian author of British descent. He is considered to be an icon among Indian writers and children’s authors and a top novelist.

He wrote his first novel, The Room on the Roof, when he was seventeen which won John Llewellyn Rhys Memorial Prize in 1957. Since then he has written several novellas, over 500 short stories, as well as various essays and poems, all of which have established him as one of the best-loved and most admired chroniclers of contemporary India.

In 1992 he received the Sahitya Akademi award for English writing, for his short stories collection, “Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra”, by the Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters in India. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 for contributions to children’s literature.

Rating: 9/10

 

Book Review: The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk by Sudha Murty

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk by Sudha Murty

Genre: Short Story, Non Fiction
Book Name: The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk
Author: Sudha Murty
Pages: 212
Publication Year: 2012
Publisher: Penguin

Sudha Murty has a distinct flair of writing, which is not so easy to replicate. I am not going to write something new for another of her book which I have not already mentioned in my previous reviews of her books – Dollar Bahu and Something Happened on the Way to Heaven. Like other books, The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk is relatable to our everyday life but which we fail to notice, which by the way reminds me of that musical piece by Joshua Bell who played incognito on a metro station.

Sudha Murty’s books simply wants to convey to us to be attentive of our surroundings, not come to harsh conclusions till we know the other side of the story and continue learning from our fellow beings. By the way, this book again is a collection of short stories which you can read at your own pace or start from any chapter. Great penmanship and a must read for Sudha Murty’s fans!

Book blurb:
Extraordinary stories about ordinary peoples lives by the inimitable Sudha Murty.

Over the years, Sudha Murty has come across some fascinating people whose lives make for interesting stories and have astonishing lessons to reveal. Take Vishnu, who achieves every material success but never knows happiness; or Venkat, who talks so much that he has no time to listen. In other stories, a young girl goes on a train journey that changes her life forever; an impoverished village woman provides bathing water to hundreds of people in a drought-stricken area; a do-gooder ghost decides to teach a disconsolate young man Sanskrit; and in the title story, a woman in a flooded village in Odisha teaches the author a life lesson she will never forget.

About the author:
Sudha Murty was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. She did her MTech in computer science, and is now the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written nine novels, four technical books, three travelogues, one collection of short stories, three collections of non-fiction pieces and two books for children.

Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages and have sold over three lakh copies around the country. She was the recipient of the R.K. Narayan’s Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006.

Rating: 9/10

Book Review: Something Happened on the Way to Heaven by Sudha Murty

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk by Sudha Murty

Genre: Short Story, Non Fiction
Book Name: Something Happened on the Way to Heaven
Editor: Sudha Murty
Pages: 224
Publication Year: 2014
Publisher: Penguin India

Authors (20 Authors contributing 20 Short Stories): Bhaswar Mukherjee, Saurabh Kumar, Dhrishti Dasgupta, Supriya Unni Nair, Satyarth Nayak, Jimmy Mathew, Vibha Lohani, Rajesh Pooppotte, Swaha Bhattacharya, Rishi Vohra, Neelamani Sutar, Subhobrata, Pushkar Pande, Nalini Chandran, Praveen P. Gopinath, Neha Garg, Ila Gautam, Tulika Dubey, Shantanu Bhowmick, and Tapan Mukherjee.

Although the stories are merely edited by Sudha Murty, they will not make you feel that it is something other than part and parcel of her life. For those who have previously read her other books, there is nothing to be worried about, since all the stories encompass the humane nature across the walks of life very similar to what Sudha Murty has written till now.

Something Happened on the Way to Heaven: 20 Inspiring Real-Life Stories leaves you feeling good about people and yourself, in general. You may or may not remember any story, but it will feel like those short stories/poems that you had read in your school with an aim to do good in the world, come what may. A collection of stories of ordinary people (common man), can be considered as a short summary for this book, and I will liken it to the works by R. K. Narayan.

Book blurb:
The inspiring true stories of the interesting people who inhabit the pages of Sudha Murtys books leave an indelible impression on us. But the books are able to chronicle the stories of only the men and women Mrs. Murty has actually come across herself in the course of her social work. There must be so many more wonderful stories that many others have to share. Something Happened on the Way to Heaven is a collection of twenty such memorable true life stories. Handpicked by Sudha Murty from a contest run by Penguin, they capture the hope, faith, kindness and joy that life is full of, even as we make our way through the daily grind. Moving and uplifting, this is an anthology that will engross and delight every reader who believes in the goodness of the human heart.

About the author:
Sudha Murty was born in 1950 in Shiggaon in north Karnataka. She did her MTech in computer science, and is now the chairperson of the Infosys Foundation. A prolific writer in English and Kannada, she has written nine novels, four technical books, three travelogues, one collection of short stories, three collections of non-fiction pieces and two books for children.

Her books have been translated into all the major Indian languages and have sold over three lakh copies around the country. She was the recipient of the R.K. Narayan’s Award for Literature and the Padma Shri in 2006.

Read reviews of Sudha Murty’s other books on my blog: Dollar Bahu and The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk.

Rating: 8/10

Book Review: The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna

EtherealJinxed | Book Review | The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad by Twinkle Khanna

Genre: Short Story, Fiction
Book Name: The Legend of Lakshmi Prasad
Author: Twinkle Khanna
Pages: 229
Publication Year: 2016
Publisher: Juggernaut Books

So last time I had wished for a story from Mrs Funnybones (while reading a book by the same name – review), and here it is…

The book has an undercurrent of talking about the societal changes without being preachy, the way that Mrs Funnybones wittingly spins her satirical columns regularly. Easy to read with a simple relatable context, but not the typical Indian fiction flooding the market. It has short sentences, perfectly correlated with just the right touch of background and other side-characters, the factors needed for a good short story book.

All the four stories have a feminism message and breaking stereotypes, my personal favourite being Salam, Noni Appa. This book reminded me of books written by Sudha Murthi. Only if the last story could have been skipped (those already aware of Arunachalam Murugananthm would not feel it part of fiction), it would have deserved at least 9-on-10. No denying the fact that, I am biased towards her column writings.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
A gangly young girl transforms her village with a revolutionary idea. Sixty-eight-year-old Noni Appa finds herself drawn to a married man – ‘Why do people have to define relationships, underline each word till the paper gives way beneath?’ she wonders. Bablu Kewat becomes obsessed with sanitary napkins much to his family’s horror, and a young woman keeps checking the weather forecast as she meticulously plans each of her five weddings. Funny, observant and wise, this is storytelling at its most irresistible.

About the author:
Twinkle Khanna, aka Mrs Funnybones, crafts satirical stories and funny fables when she is not running a design business, selling candles or running in circles around her small but rather odd family. She is an acclaimed columnist and lives in Mumbai.
Twitter: @mrsfunnybones
Facebook: @TwinkleRKhanna

Rating: 7/10

Lost

​I am not yet extinct
Just not in front of you
Or probably I am right here
But you don’t want to recognize me.

Sweetheart, I had been always so close to you
And then you misplaced me in a fit of emotions
Or that you tucked me on your head and then simply forgot
Silly you!

I was also once the most popular TV series 
About a plane crash on a mysterious island
I was the civilisation and culture of Mohenjo-Daro 
And of other cities in the ruins.

I was hidden behind those thick walls
In the midst of those old history books in the silent corridors
You loved to frequent once
But then stopped for you found greener pastures later.

I may be of bygone era, but still useful
Please find me
And keep me safe in your heart
I don’t want to be Lost yet again!

Book Review: Gulabi by Pankaj Suneja

EtherealJinxed|Book Review | Gulabi by Pankaj Suneja

Genre: Psychology, Short Story
Book Name: Gulabi
Author: Pankaj Suneja
Pages: 74
Publication Year: 2014
Publisher: CinnamonTeal Publishing

This book is an interesting attempt at explaining schizophrenia by an author who had himself created a fictional character while going through emotional trauma. However, the story and narrative were lacking at many points. There was never a clear understanding of the linkages between the main protagonists and the characters. Probably, that’s what happens when someone is going through trauma and everything including the senses blur. As I flipped pages, so did the two stories suddenly from one to another with never a warning. But considering its a debut novel, I can still give some brownie points. However, hoping the best for the author to bind a better thread through his next book for everyone to read.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
Schizophrenia is challenging disorder often characterized by abnormal social behaviour and a significantly altered perception of reality. Its treatment largely depends on medications and psychosocial interventions but no single approach is widely considered effective for all patients. Through this book I offer my readers a glimpse into the multifaceted world of schizophrenia in the form of fictitious storyline revolving around two characters Monty (the psychotic part) and Virginia (the non psychotic part). The boundary between the two is permeable. Monty conjures up ‘Gulabi’, following his abrupt separation from his long time partner, while Virginia, having suffered from a personal loss sets out to follow her lifelong aspiration to travel the world.

About the author:
Pankaj Suneja is a psychologist by choice and a writer by passion. He wrote his first book, Gulabi, while suffering with psychotic symptoms. The Mobile Phone is his second novel. Pankaj writes from his personal experiences and his reflections about himself and his environment. He presented the paper titled ‘Closer to Schizophrenia: a personal journey from illness to health‘ in the form of poster at Icons of SCARF at 2014, Chennai. He holds a diploma in creative writing and is the winner of the David Feinsilver Award 2015, for original thinking and scholarship research, New York.

Rating: 6/10

Book Review: The Mobile Phone by Pankaj Suneja

EtherealJinxed|Book Review | The Mobile Phone by Pankaj Suneja

Genre: Psychology, Short Story
Book Name: The Mobile Phone
Author: Pankaj Suneja
Pages: 94
Publication Year: 2015
Publisher: CinnamonTeal Publishing

The book could have been an excellent read – with two stories intertwined with each other and dealing with changing relationships, depression, and fabricating a different world in mind to bridge the gap with reality (Schizophrenia). The start was crisp; however by the end, one’s interest may waver. A good attempt at writing on such a delicate topic, but which could have been much much better.

Specially negative points to the publishing house who gave ‘ok’ to publishing the book without even doing a spelling or grammar check in MS Word. Grammatical mistakes, sentence construction errors, name mismatches, confusion between narration of the two stories – some place as third person while others as first person, and the list goes, all of which disinterested me in completing the book. But there, I did it! Crisper editing could have made it so much more a worthwhile read.

Excerpt from the back cover of the book:
The Mobile Phone is a story of connecting to the child within us. The story is set in Delhi and deals with the lives of Rohit, a tutor, and Prabhu, a child he teaches in the city. The author uses ‘the paper mobile phone’ as a symbol to connect with someone who is absent; someone we seek or someone who could hold us in our helplessness. The novel makes an attempt to understand death and deal with mourning. It looks at child’s play and fantasy life. It also looks at adults who are evolving in relationship.

About the author:
Pankaj Suneja is a psychologist by choice and a writer by passion. He wrote his first book, Gulabi, while suffering with psychotic symptoms. The Mobile Phone is his second novel. Pankaj writes from his personal experiences and his reflections about himself and his environment. He presented the paper titled ‘Closer to Schizophrenia: a personal journey from illness to health‘ in the form of poster at Icons of SCARF at 2014, Chennai. He holds a diploma in creative writing and is the winner of the David Feinsilver Award 2015,for original thinking and scholarship research, New York.

Rating: 6/10

Story: Memories

This one is written after hearing many experiences of my friends. Not that after getting married, anyone told me this piece of their life. It’s just an imagination by me to try my hand at writing super short story with an end finally this time.


As Abha sat late night browsing through the internet to get hold of a story, she noticed a pic – the pic of two people sitting in a rickshaw with rain in full swing. It tugged at her heart and reminded her of someone very close. She forgot all about completing her freelancing task at hand, and started finding out all she could about this guy.

There was the time when Abha and Vinay used to hang out together. Oh those were the very best of times. But then things changed for both. Long distance relationships doesn’t always work the way one wants.

Abha searched and searched. She was in a hopeless stance. She couldn’t risk asking anyone around for the fear of blowing up the pretence of so many years among all who knew her secret past. Yet she couldn’t find anything recent. All whatever she could find of him was ages old. Of the times she already knew when they were together.

Can I call him just to hear his voice? Or it would just break her into pieces like how it used to happen always before?

Vinay was already married to the girl she had initially so vehemently objected to. Abha shut down the laptop and then went to feed her daughter Paakhi with a new twist in the tale to tell this time.

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