About 6 months back, we stumbled across Ann Morgan’s blog, A Year of Reading the World and were blown away by what she had done. And with good reason too !
In 2012, Ann Morgan embarked on a year-long journey of the literary kind. She read a book from every independent country in the world. That was a total of 196 books read that year. Since then, Ann has published a book titled Reading the World: Confessions of a Literary Explorer, which talks about her journey — the stories, the research, the people involved — and how it changed her thinking and her perception of the world.
Reading about Ann’s literary journey on her blog and later her book, inspired us and got us thinking about reading the immediate world around us. Reading India. Reading India’s diversity and sub-cultures through her various States and Union Territories (UTs), one book at a time. Reading India with you and through you.
That’s how the idea of #TSBCReadsIndia was born.
So, what exactly is #TSBCReadsIndia and how does it work? We have elaborated on it in a question and answer format below and one that we hope will tell you all that you wish to know. Continue reading Reading India with TSBC→
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.
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→
We, at The Sunday Book Club, have always tried to be different and unique in spreading our love for books.
We started off with what we believe was a first-of-its-kind twitter chat about books in India, and then introduced other book-related hashtags that run across the week to engross and engage with book lovers from around the world. We have also organised giveaways from time to time. So, amidst all these new ideas (and with more to come), we thought of doing something familiar, something that everyone would expect a “Book Club” to do.
On the day when we celebrate our 100th #TSBC chat, we are excited to announce the start of a bi-monthly (once every two months) twitter book chat that follows the norms of a “normal” or regular book club.
In a nutshell, at the start of every two months, we will announce one book that we would like everyone to read. The reason why we are doing this on a bi-monthly basis is because this will give everyone ample time to source the book and also time to read it, keeping in mind varied reading speeds.
A couple of years back, eBooks were supposed to revolutionize the publishing world. The end of bookstores was near (and it still is, but for a completely different reason). Physical books were supposed to be a thing of the past and with eBooks being “nature friendly” (debatable), it seemed that conventional books had already lost the battle.
Things are different today. While there might be growth in favour of digitalization, it’s not fast enough to cover the expenses that publishers have to pour into this new format. It seems that publishers have to really push hard to sell digital editions of their books.
So, why is it that while we have adopted and adapted to new technology in almost all fields that people still prefer physical books over eBooks?
Registration for the 2014 Great #TSBC Exchange Programme is now closed.
The 2014 version of the Great #TSBC Book Exchange Programme is here 😀
One of the primary goals of #TSBC, besides talking about books, is to be a medium for people to find others who share similar interests in books. Towards this, we are constantly on the lookout for activities that can be enjoyed by all and further spread the love of reading among people of all ages. Towards this we introduced the Great #TSBC Book Exchange Programme in September 2013 to some amazing response.
And that enthused us enough to offer it again this year. So without much ado let’s get down to the brass tacks.
How does the 2014 Great #TSBC Exchange Programme Work?
It’s quite simple.
The Book Exchange programme is similar to the idea of Secret Santa. Admittedly, the idea is neither new nor original, but since something like this is being done exclusive for books, we hope it will bring some surprise and joy into the lives of the people who love reading.
So what happens is this: If you sign up for the Great #TSBC Book Exchange Programme, you will be the anonymous Secret Book Giver for one person randomly assigned to you. In turn, you will receive a book or books from your Secret Book Giver, who will remain anonymous to you.
‘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.
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.
During my recent visit to Fort Cochin, I chanced upon the best library I’ve ever been to or could have imagined at the Pepper House Café. A serendipitious search for my afternoon coffee led me there.
Much like the town of Fort Kochi, Pepper House Café is located in a narrow lane next to the main jetty on Kalmavathi Road. The Café is actually an old bungalow-like structure with a central courtyard and the sea at its backyard.
The aroma of freshly brewed coffee welcomes you as your enter the narrow wooden door. And a flash of the bright blue sea can be seen across the courtyard through a narrow door in backyard.
After ordering the coffee I wandered around the place, peeked into the Café’s Art Gallery, before climbing up a flight of wooden stairs to access the first floor.
And what I saw blew me away. A Library with a massive collection of books stored in floor to ceiling shelves and an inviting atmosphere beckoned me. Although I did not have much time to browse through the entire collection, I could see that the collection was an eclectic mix of all possible genres. There were even books in French, German and Russian.
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!
My 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.
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.
Written 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.
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.
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 ? 🙂