Category Archives: #TSBC Challenge

@TSBookClub Hashtags: Deconstructed, Decoded, Demystified

It seems we are a little over our heads with all the hashtags that we have concocted ever since we began #TSBC. Mind you, we aren’t complaining. But its always nice to simplify things, isn’t it? So, we have collected all the hashtags together and have attempted to deconstruct, decode and demystify them for the new participants. In other words, we explain each of the hashtags right here in one place on this page. Some of the grander hashtags have been features in individual posts, and you can click on their header to be directed to them.

So here goes…

#TSBC

The grand daddy of all the book chats and the reason why we exist ! #TSBC is our weekly chat that takes place every Sunday between 15:00 – 16:00 Indian Standard Time. It consists of us discussing  6 questions tweeted over an hour — 1 question every 10 minutes — on a book related topic decided earlier. It is a great way to meet fellow book readers and interact on different aspects of literature, publishing, personal choices, and pretty much anything related to books in the minutest of ways. Continue reading @TSBookClub Hashtags: Deconstructed, Decoded, Demystified

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Book Review: The Complete Maus

‘Graphic’ and ‘novel’ ideally stand apart for any reader, since the former tends to rely largely on image and the latter on text. I decide to judge for myself, the result of merging the two, when the TSBC Challenge comes up with a “Graphic Novel Special” in June. And, by now, I’m attuned to lay blind trust in their recommendations.

But it wasn’t the BEST people who survived, nor did the best ones die. It was RANDOM.

the_complete_maus

Pavel’s astute observation on the Holocaust, in Maus, constantly rings in my mind as a comment on reading, as well as mis-reading a survivor-story. Half way through the book, he questions the writer’s own perception of the Holocaust and its survivors even as he tries to lighten Artie’s emotional/creative dilemma and distress (graphically portrayed by Artie’s shrunken size). Could we extend this remark to life itself, I wonder, as I try to consolidate my experience of ‘reading’ Maus by Art Spiegelman, as a part of the TSBC Challenge.

The book-cover leaves little to the imagination, for one can’t help but notice a vivid swastika cross. One broadly knows what to expect, but not quite. Expectation, in the world of Maus, is a mistake. I’m told by the mini-blurbs on the inside of the jacket that the work is autobiographical. However, the predominant images of cat and mouse seem at odds with this intention. Why would an autobiographical work require a metaphorical representation? Intriguing.

Continue reading Book Review: The Complete Maus

Book Review: The Prague Cemetery

I decide to take up the TSBC Challenge out of curiosity. What book would I get? Could it be completely out of my loop? As a student of literature, haven’t I already abandoned the idea of a ‘comfort zone’? And anyway could TSBC gauge my loop?  And, I’m in for a surprise!

The-Prague-CemeteryMy first impressions of The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco are restricted to two words on the smoky, greyish-brown book cover: ‘Cemetery’ and ‘bestselling’. And I see a man with a hat who apparently conceals an event of some consequence as he stands with his back to the audience. It is perhaps, only through him that we might see light. Horror? Mystery?

The first chapter continues the eerie feel of the book cover by taking the reader through the “tangle of malodorous alleys” in a crime-infested neighborhood of the late nineteenth century Paris, only to land him/her at the doorstep of an old, faded antique shop. Inside, the reader almost bumps into history, as it is jammed together in terms of articles perhaps from different times and contexts — “a pendulum clock in faking blue enamel”, “vase stands with chipped ceramic putti”, “a rusty iron visiting card holder”, “hideous mother-of-pearl fans decorated with Chinese designs”, “two white felt slippers with buckles encrusted with Irish diamante”, “a chipped bust of Napoleon”… Interesting.

Continue reading Book Review: The Prague Cemetery

Book Review: The Chocolate War

It is said that good writing is the context which a writer creates and makes the readers think.

Going by this famous quote, The Chocolate War is not only a good, but an exemplary piece of writing. It not only makes the reader think but also sets a stage for him/her to be able to clearly recognise right from wrong, good from evil, and the consequences and repercussions of standing by one’s beliefs in a particular scenario, like the school in this book. But it stands true to every phase and situation in life. Calling it an analogy to society, as such, will not be wrong.

the-chocolate-warWritten by Robert Cormier and first published in 1974, The Chocolate War remains the most discussed, analysed, debated and criticised book by Cormier and has been frequently labelled controversial and provocative. It has been banned in some parts of the world for it’s mature content, language and violence, but is equally supported by critics and taught in schools in other parts of the world.

The story is set at Trinity, an all-boys Catholic school where an annual chocolate sale is held to raise funds for the school. Brother Leon, the evil Headmaster at Trinity, doubles the number of chocolate boxes to be sold and also the price, clearly burdening the unassuming students. For this he cleverly seeks help from Archie Costello, the ‘Assigner’ with The Vigils, an underground student gang/group operating within the school in a clandestine manner. The Vigils intimidate the students and terrorise them into doing ‘tasks’ assigned by them. The protagonist Jerry Renault is a 14-year old freshman at Trinity who has recently lost his mother. Jerry refuses to sell chocolates for the annual sale and that sets into motion a chain of events, all unexpected and unusual for the school. How Jerry stands up to his beliefs, continues to refuse the sale of chocolates despite being bullied and harassed, how the complicated behaviour of students and Brothers at Trinity unfold layer after layer following this rebellious act from Jerry form the body of the book.

Continue reading Book Review: The Chocolate War

The #TSBC Challenge

Do you DARE?

Do you have the courage to go where no book lover has gone before?

Can you step out of your comfort zone and enter a realm where the unknown can take you by surprise?

If you are adventurous enough to explore the fascinating world of books, then we recommend taking on the #TSBCChallenge head on.

TSBC Challenge

Every month, one of the founders of The Sunday Book Club, will pick 10 brave challengers on Twitter and give them book recommendations to read. We will ask you for a budget so
that the recommendations lies within what you are comfortable spending.

Once we recommend the book, you buy it and over the challenge month, read the book. Hopefully, the book will be one that will make you explore a completely new genre or author. You can report back to us with either a just a few tweets telling us what you thought of the book or if you feel, or a mail if you so wish. You can also review the book and submit it to us for consideration of publication on this blog. If it meets with our criteria, we will be happy to publish it.

What you get in return is a honour of officially receiving our one of a kind badge and the authority to boast that you took the #TSBCChallenge and came out on the other side victorious.

So, are you GAME?

PS: We are a little late in putting up this blog post – the November and December Challenges have already been given out.  Better late than never, eh ? 🙂