Book Review: Art

Art – book cover

Book: Art

Author: Marin Darmonkow (@fontrealbooks) / Twitter

Genre: Children’s fiction, Picture book

Review copy: Reedsy Discovery

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Must Read

This magical book of inspired art lets you create your own story and give voice to its protagonist. Art, an illustrated book, reminds me of silent movies of yore when only actors’ expressions were articulated and audiences interpreted the characters in different ways. In this book of intricate imagery, the creative artist Marin Darmonkow has given voice to an autistic character without saying a word. This work of art is intense, tugging at the heartstrings, and generating empathy.

The artwork in fluorescent line drawings and colors stands out on black paper. A heavy mood hangs on the pages because the story that is hardly narrated invokes sadness. There is so much going on in just a few pages – the circus, non-verbal Art, and his stuffed toy friend, mesmerizing people with antics, yet no one knows what goes on in Art’s mind. The jester’s hat of Art and the thousand glistening crowns in the audience bring about the sharp contrasts in life. The stuffed bear, in its silent companionship, seems to be alive and supporting Art in his life’s mission of “Do what you dream!”

There is a lyrical melancholy that pulls you into the black sheets of sparkling wonder. I can imagine a parent narrating a bedtime story based on pure imagination, brilliantly transposed against the beautiful artwork. As an empath, I wonder if it is too dark or sad a book for children. Then, I think – it is not by shielding from the pain that a child grows, but by expounding truths so that compassion flows.

This inspired book can inspire many stories and poems. Bring the magic home and carve your tales, page-by-page, where the stuffed bear comes to life, and Art speaks from the heart. Truly, a collector’s edition, this book must find a place on the bookshelves of young and old. It holds a meditative power, deep insights, and imaginative streak. Make it yours because silence can be stronger than words, as we see in this book.

Book Review: The Marigold Chemise

The Marigold Chemise – book cover

Book: The Marigold Chemise

Author: Sheryl Westergreen (@SDWeste) / Twitter

Genre: Historical fiction, business

Review copy: Reedsy Discovery

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Must Read

“The seduction had begun.” I could not resist picking up The Marigold Chemise by Sheryl Westergreen as it gave vibes similar to one of my favorite historical fiction featuring a painting – The Girl with a Pearl Earring by Johannes Vermeer. The stunning book cover with yellow-orange hues was instantly attractive. I deep-dived into this book with much anticipation and undivided attention.

When young Lucida of the conservative Glavani family agrees to model the marigold silk chemise for portraits by her friend Alessia, the reader can relate to her eagerness. How can one not revel in the beauty of silken wonder almost as bright as the sun? The book does justice to these sentiments – both of the protagonist and the reader as it brings forth a mesmerizing story.

A fine lesson in history, architecture, food, decor, art, and the culture of Roman society, the author’s research features in an impactful narration. Some of the prose is poetic. The dreamy color of the marigold occurs more than once. The romantic tale thrills and the historical fiction enthralls. Halfway through the book, a nefarious element builds up and keeps the reader glued. The whispering of clandestine dealings with scandalous consequences creates further curiosity about how the characters will handle the brewing storm.

This is a young, bashful story – of two women trying to fulfill dreams and desires. As always, the base conflict is between aspirations and how to keep them alive in the face of societal bindings. The characters are well-fleshed out. Even the male characters are tender and understanding, wanting the best for their women. The story moves at a breathtaking speed with twists and turns like the cobbled streets of Rome. This book is a tribute to the artistic spirit.

Eventually, how do events transpire in the lives of a talented female painter and her gorgeous female model, wrapped in the magic of a marigold chemise? They have the same dream, but can they stand for themselves in a world that would rather have them relegated to lavish living rooms and busy kitchens? How does the marigold chemise inspire a business venture? Read this alluring tale with an artistic and feministic theme, just as I did. I have added this book to my beloved historical fiction list. It brims with the fire and the glow of the marigold. Make it yours.

Read the author’s interviews:

https://www.newswire.com/news/sheryl-westergreens-new-book-the-marigold-chemise-is-an-intriguing-21716448

Art and technology

I am watching The Billion Dollar Code, a 2021 German television miniseries on Netflix, and it struck me that art and technology are interconnected. Terravision, the purported precursor of Google Earth was conceived as an art project. The team funded by Deutsche Telekom consisted of more artistic than technical people.

In episode 2, when Juri Müller conceptualizes the future of Terravision, an algorithm that ties together satellite images of the Earth, he says, “now it is empty, only form. But what happens if we fill it with content?” He elaborates, “If you fill Terravision with content, it would become a portal to a database with the knowledge of the whole world.” The leading duo goes on to speak about virtual reality.

I cannot but smile at the use of the keywords – content, database, knowledge, portals. Technology is potent but it is just a shell that needs to be filled with the right content and marketing to explore its full potential. A code can be written and a graphical element designed only after an idea is conceived. Ideas and thoughts are a part of the creative mental process involving intuition, inspiration, logic, reasoning, research, and imagination, which are eventually expressed on the drawing board. This expression is art!

The soul of technology is art. Without aesthetics, technology may not touch human lives. We want slim Smart TVs, foldable devices, colored straps for smartwatches, and a touch of beauty and style in all of our technology-enhanced lives. Innovation is a popular keyword in technology and engineering organizations. Being innovative is being creative and every innovation starts with art and creativity.

As a technical communicator, I find myself at the intersection of art and technology; creativity and code. It is the byline that describes everything I strive for in my professional life. I want to see and bring out the soulful side of technology, through relevant content that connects people with their devices. I am a creative person who believes in the future of technology, and for me, art and technology are inseparable.

Book Review: Like the Radiant Sun

Like the Radiant Sun

Book: Like the Radiant Sun

Author: Anu Kay

Genre: Mythology, Magical Realism, Fiction

Review Copy: Himalayan Book Club

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Must Read!

Anu Kay’s novel, Like the Radiant Sun, is an engaging tale spanning a plethora of themes. It is a thriller full of suspense with the mild aroma of a romance playing out in the foreground of a mystical, mythological drama. It has the feel of a Bollywood movie and the enticement of a well-researched and rendered novel. 

Is it destined or planned that a precious, ancient text lands in the hands of an archaeologist, Rohan Sharma? He is just the man to appreciate, interpret, and preserve the words, outlining a rare discipline of combat with esoteric origins. But is he also the man who embodies the physical and mental prowess to outsmart the baddies desperate to lay their hands on the Marma Kala, an ancient manuscript on martial arts?

In the background of this intellectual pursuit lurks a gruesome mystery of a dead priest and a woman in dreadlocks. On this premise, the writer builds a fascinating story oft intercepted by quotes and passages from ancient Indian texts. The book has a fast pace and yet finds space for some attractive imagery, such as, “With cracks of thunder, rain followed like a torrent, whipping up the angry waters of the river.”

Mysterious people across some significant places in India – Varanasi, New Delhi, Kerala, and the revered Mount Kailash – pursue the protagonist. The writer brings out the mesmerizing charm and history of these places. She calls Varanasi, “a magnificent amphitheater of a bygone era.” She draws up pictures with words. For example, there is a scene of a person draped in a red shawl, spurring his black horse through the hills of a spice plantation, as dark clouds loomed.

There is occult, bloodshed, suspicious characters, and a narrative that keeps you on the edge. References to mystical symbols, seals, ancient arts and medicine, and mythological tales embellish the story. When you are reading fiction but bookmark items for further research, the writer has successfully captured your attention.

The language is polished and carefully edited, which makes the reading smooth. The characters are well-fleshed out. Their backgrounds are well-enunciated to make it easier to grasp their intentions. The book cover art speaks to the theme of the book and outlines a significant character. I felt the book title could have been more imaginative and alluring. As a lover of historical and mystical stories, Anu Kay’s work provides me with a fine piece of fresh and engaging literature that truly brings out the charm of our Indian heritage.


Book Review: Bloodstone: Legend of the Last Engraving

The book brings forth deep research and impeccable imagination. The author’s personal experiences come alive in descriptions of the Kamakhya temple rituals and the religious fervor during the autumn worship of the Goddess. The exotic yet demanding terrain of the hills of Nepal is the backdrop of the tale of a simple village couple that breaks free of the shackles of matriarchy to redefine their fate. It is the story of motherhood – earthly and divine – always alive in mythology, legends, but most importantly in human faith.

Bloodstone

Book: Bloodstone: Legend of the Last Engraving

Author: Rashmi Narzary

Genre: Mythology, Historical Fiction, Fiction

Review Copy: Himalayan Book Club

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Loved it!

Author Rashmi Narzary entwines the fascinating customs of the Kamakhya temple in the Nilachal hills of Assam, India, with the spectacular tradition of the Kumari Goddess in Tilibham, Nepal. In a fictional story that blends mythology and history, legends and existing beliefs, she creates an intriguing narrative centered around the Mother Goddess in South Asian culture. Across the snowy climes of Tilibham, a story blossoms out of loss and yearning, and like any tale of utmost passion and longing, it stretches beyond time and space to remind of the power of sadness to change destinies. The plot arc curves over this canvas. Conflict brims even after 3/4rth of the narration. Anticipation of the resolution makes the book unputdownable.

The book brings forth deep research and impeccable imagination. The author’s personal experiences come alive in descriptions of the Kamakhya temple rituals and the religious fervor during the autumn worship of the Goddess. The exotic yet demanding terrain of the hills of Nepal is the backdrop of the tale of a simple village couple that breaks free of the shackles of matriarchy to redefine their fate. It is the story of motherhood – earthly and divine – always alive in mythology, legends, but most importantly, in human faith.

Is this book prophetic? Read what the author thinks.

BLoodSTONE: LEGEND OF THE LAST ENGRAVING

It is also the story of love that transcends eons – of God Shiva, who mourns his beloved Sati and a Goddess, who must be reborn to fulfill the yearning of divine lovers. The book will make you crave more. Like me, you may seek more information on the traditions so exquisitely detailed. Divinity dwells in humanity that incessantly seeks it out; humanity survives in a deep faith in this power of the esoteric.

As a reader, I was mesmerized by the story. As an editor, I found the book lacking. It starts with repetitive text and descriptions that can be discouraging. After initial reluctance, one forges ahead into the enticing landscape of a wondrous story. The script demands a thorough edit as the repetitive information is distracting. The book would have sparkled with a crisp and concise approach, leaving more for the reader to imagine and savor, long after, the legend of the bloodstone reveals itself.

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