Stories about book

Red Birds: A lament to love, a rant against war and an ode to pacifists

Red Birds is about the destruction that inevitably follows love. Many say this Mohammed Hanif novel is an anatomy of the wars men wage and the carcasses of pain women and their children must sweep up, each with their own indignities, but I don’t. I am sure it is an ode to the unloved. Take Major Ellie for instance, the mediocre white man who is the glorious pilot of a plane that could buy say, a city in Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan. Ellie wipes out cities with the courage of his right thumb prompted by an X ...

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Home Fire: A Muslim love story for the modern world

The latest novel by Kamila Shamsie has won numerous accolades, the most recent one being the 2018 Women’s Prize for Fiction. The novel, based on the Greek tragedy Antigone, delves into the modern-day spasms of jihad and terrorism, and also examines the concept of loyalty, belief and love. Not having read Antigone, Home Fire came across as a juxtaposition of the notions that have been shuffling in religious and political debate of late. The cover of the book – one of the most profound covers out of the books in my possession – is a simple maze of red-orange fire with two ...

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With humour and humility, ‘The Perils of Being Moderately Famous’ brings literal royalty back down to earth

Earlier this year, I had just finished two heavy novels, both on the topic of slavery and the struggle of African Americans today. Thus I found myself in desperate want of a ‘lighter’ read. The Perils of Being Moderately Famous by Soha Ali Khan then came to my attention, and even though I read a review saying it was a pointless book, I’m glad I gave it the benefit of the doubt. I had my own assumptions of course. “Isn’t this title a little pretentious?” “What exactly have I got in common with this royal celebrity?” Soha is quite literally a royal, as ...

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5 reasons why ‘Homo Deus’ will get under your skin and make you question humanity’s future

If you are lucky, you may come across a book that challenges your assumptions, upends your convictions, and knocks down your indoctrination. If you are really lucky, then the said book may present an alternative and limitless world view of possibilities, generating a warm fuzzy feeling within; perhaps because your assumptions have been challenged, convictions upended, and indoctrination knocked down. I can safely say this has happened to me recently. After several years of sporadic reading of contemporary fiction, creative non-fiction and general non-fiction, I finally had the pleasure of reading Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow by Yuval Noah ...

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Michael Wolff’s ‘Fire and Fury’ represents “anti-news”, only highlighting the dumb things Donald Trump did

When I was asked if I wanted to write about Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury:  Inside the Trump White House, my a priori response was, No! My curiosity does not extend to the contents of Wolff’s book, not to mention penning a whole blog on the topic. Thus I responded half tongue-in-cheek, “no thanks, but I’d be willing to scrawl a self-indulgent piece on why not to read the book.” The Express Tribune Blogs called my bluff, and thus here goes. There are readers, editors and writers that prioritise tabloid phenomena. Wolff’s book represents “anti-news,” a big ball of “nothing we haven’t heard before”. ...

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Rowling’s birthday, my present

The first time I picked up a Harry Potter book was at the age of 12, when my elder brother threatened to sit on me if I did not try and read one his favourite series. Fearing for my life, I dejectedly picked up The Philosopher’s Stone, and within minutes, I was hooked. Today, nine years later, I still feel that teenage excitement and fixation as I sit on my bed, desperately and acutely ready to soak in the final instalment. The fandom that surrounds Rowling and her books can only be compared to the great George RR Martin and ...

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H is for Hawk and B is for Brilliant

Helen Macdonald’s searing and savagely beautiful memoir, H is for Hawk, is a unique and sublime meditation on loss and identity. On its surface, H is for Hawk is essentially a vibrant and mesmerising account of taming and training of a young female goshawk, however, the premise and the depths of Macdonald’s sumptuous writing make this book go far and beyond the realms of traditional nature writing. It is a book that encompasses various literary traditions to create a reading experience that is as heart-warming as it is heart-stopping.  At the beginning of the book we meet Macdonald who is in her thirties ...

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A Girl is a Half-formed Thing: A lame excuse of a novel

If you are looking for a beach read or a book to read in a dim-lit, dingy café over caramel macchiato and death by chocolate brownie, then Eimear McBride’s A Girl is a Half-formed Thing is not the book for you. For it is a book which requires unbridled and undivided attention. As frankly put as possible, this is an exceedingly difficult book to read. With this book, McBride has made a breakthrough debut; although doing so was no easy task. It took McBride six months to write this book and over nine years to find a publisher. However, much to the chagrin of ...

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‘Half Girlfriend’ only half satisfying

“Classes can wait. Love can’t.” Chetan Bhagat almost never fails to induce a million “aww” moments into his readers’ experiences with his stories. The writer, who gained immense fame and glory for his best-selling novel Two States (also turned into a movie), is everything one associates with love and drama. Half Girlfriend is Bhagat’s newest contribution to romance and literature, and most definitely, Indian cinema. Based on the life-changing events in two people’s lives, the novel promises a flush of contemporary Bollywood. The story revolves around Madhav and Riya, who are people from Mars and Venus, literally. Madhav, being a small town Bihari boy, finds it hard to ...

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Aao Parhao – Jo Seekha Hai Wo Sekhao

As part of a remembrance to Robin Williams, I arranged a showing of Good Will Hunting and invited some school friends over. After the movie ended, one of them remarked on the critical role the protagonist’s teacher, Prof Gerald Lambeau (played by Stellan Skarsgård), a Fields Medal winner, and mentor  Sean Maguire (played by Robin Williams) had in his development. “We didn’t have anyone as dedicated as them. Not even close.” I had to disagree and thought back to an incident back in March 1991. The phone rang and my mother picked it up. “Hello, is this the home of Sibtain Naqvi?” a lady asked. My mother ...

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