The Superpower of Words

The writing community always gives. From words and encouragement to gratitude and encouragement. This year I dedicated myself to reading self-published and Indie writers and reviewing books that made a difference.

As a Reedsy Disovery and Himalayan Book Club book reviewer, I discovered a whole new world. Previously, I also reviewed books for Juggernaut but it dwindled due to time constraints. Several writers have reached out to me through social media platforms with comments on my reviews. Some have chosen me to review their book, which gives me much joy.

I am glad to be one of these creative writers and it surely warms the cockles of my heart to receive personal notes from authors. A few have connected with me to talk about their writing inspirations and their next work. I was able to provide editorial guidance to a self-published writer who was seeking help with her young adult trilogy. It has been an exciting journey and I hope to keep the momentum in 2022 also. It is not only important to write but to support other writers, too.

Bookworm Joys – 2021

In the year of the pandemic, reading has helped me stay focused, and most importantly stay home. Reading and creative writing as hobbies have given me much succor and the required mental boost. I have provided guidance to a few new authors, who reached out to me and at each step, it has been a learning experience and a cherished fellowship.

Reedsy Discovery Book Reviewer Leaderboard

One of the best things that happened to me as a reader was when I started writing book reviews for Reedsy Discovery. I have read so many amazing new authors and indie writers in different genres, learned so much, and contributed in my way to spread the word about some brilliant self-publications. I have been on a reading spree in 2021 and am often featured as the Reedsy Discovery top reviewer. Read this blog post on how my Reedsy journey began in April 2021.

In the year of the pandemic, reading has helped me stay focused, and most importantly, stay home. Reading and creative writing as hobbies have given me much succor, and the required mental boost. I have provided guidance to a few new authors, who reached out to me and at each step, it has been a learning experience and a cherished fellowship.

By the end of the year, I will have read 30 books on the UK-based Reedsy Discovery platform. Apart from this I have also read and reviewed complimentary copies from the Himalayan Book Club for Indian writers. These badges from Reedsy Discovery Leaderboard inspire me. You can read the book reviews here: https://reedsy.com/discovery/user/aneeshashewani/reviews

Book Review: The Eight Crafts of Writing

The Eight Crafts of Writing by Stefan Emunds is a must-have on the bookshelf for anyone who wants a succinct reckoner for basic principles of good writing.

Eight-Crafts-of-Writing

Book: The Eight Crafts of Writing

Author: by Stefan Emunds

Genre: Nonfiction, Contemporary, Writing Craft

Review Copy: Reedsy

Available at: Amazon.in

Recommended: Loved it!

As a writer, this book grabbed my attention with its title. The Eight Crafts of Writing by Stefan Emunds is a must-have on the bookshelf for anyone who wants a succinct reckoner for basic principles of good writing.

Presented in a crisp format, the book provides a comprehensive map to navigate the writing jungle. Writers are often distracted by the tools of the trade, the multitude of best writing practices, advice on, and criticism of the styles. They tend to miss the overall picture. They forget the joy of creating art.

Nuggets of wisdom, easy to recall definitions, and a simplistic view of concepts are the cornerstone of this guidebook. It brings forth brief comprehension of elements of creative writing that we think we know but may not have clarity. For instance, defining a story as a genre or distinguishing a fictional piece from a nonfictional one. It talks about the techniques that convert big ideas into a masterpiece.

I realized the value of this book as I delved deeper. This is not a one-time read. It is reference material; a textbook. Highlight the nuances, make notes in the margins, view the online material, and memorize the definitions. I recommend it as a must-have for every student and pursuer of the craft of writing. Simple diagrams support the narrative. Links to external material like videos and articles enhance the reference power of the content.

Each page will draw you in, as you consume it. It’s virtually a tome because not a word is wasted; not a sentence is vagrant. It’s packed with a punch, a solid dose of learning in every single line. Read the whole book in a go or pick up a section and ruminate. You must also access the website – https://www.eightcrafts.com for additional learning through maps and articles. This is a masterclass in a book!

Book Review: Inauspicicous

Book: Inauspicious

Author: Renée L. K. Eastabrooks

Genre: Contemporary Fiction

Review Copy: Reedsy

Available at: Amazon.com

Some aspects of our society and cultural mores are so horrifying that we strive to keep them under wraps. It takes someone with courage, compassion, and empathy to bring forth depraved secrets so that the evil can be ripped apart at the roots. Renée L. K. Eastabrooks pens down the true story of a young widow in Rajasthan, who miraculously escapes the burning pyre of Sati, and goes on to search for a new life across continents. Easterbrook’s novel – Inauspicious – contains insights from her month-long trip to northern India where she worked with widows and street children.

Sati, the practice of burning alive a widow on the pyre of her dead husband, is illegal in India. However, in the hinterlands, the widow is a financial and social burden, and an entire custom is perpetuated to get rid of her while crowning her with divinity. In this horrifying landscape, a young widow, Triti, escapes a lit pyre and through sisterhood and kindness, and the power of her dreams and forte attempts to rewrite her destiny. The novel is gripping from the start and has the reader rooting for the protagonist.

The writer is invested in the local landscape and heritage. The book contains verses, local lullabies, songs, and a few colloquial dialogues. Amidst the sorrow and the depravity, the descriptions of colors, bazaars, spices, jewelry, bring out the visual vibrancy for which Rajasthan is well-known. Eastabrook’s writing is evocative and the observant narrative fills the pages of an otherwise troubling story.

Initially, it seems Triti’s recovery and journey to Delhi and then to New York is not only swift but convenient. A quarter into the book, the 18 years old, Triti, has changed her identity and moved out of the country, only to discover the smoke and mirrors in the world. Her trysts are yet to unfold.

This is a story of sheer grit and the desire to survive, against all odds. From small towns and impoverished societies rise some of the strongest souls who become an inspiration. Triti’s story, even in adversity, speaks of the power of serendipity and the inner strength that can pave the path for redemption and healing if ever there is for those who have experienced the darkest depths of society.

Book Review: Espresso with the Devil

Book: Espresso with the Devil

Author: Thomas Poppe

Genre: Fiction, Self-Discovery, New-Age

Review Copy: Reedsy

Available on: Amazon.in

Must Read!

A title as interesting as Espresso with the Devil keeps up to its promise of being an engrossing read. Tom, a writer, is approached at the airport by Fred, who introduces himself as the Devil. The Devil is worried and he needs Tom to carry his message to mankind. The premise reminds me of two popular renderings on modern television – Lucifer on Netflix and Crawley from Good Omens on Prime Video – and Fred seems as intriguing and entertaining as these televised characters.

Soon, the writer and Devil are engaged in contemporary discourse on the nature and purpose of modern life. The discussions elaborate how the Devil is able to allure humans to go against their basic instincts and indulge in complex and artificial living that exacerbates the struggles of humanity.

The onslaught of technology diminishes mental faculties. Ease, convenience leads to decay. As fake news, deep fake, permeate our lives, the conscientious can identify the perils of idolizing achievers and creating role models, without knowing the whole truth.

The discussion delves into the competition, materialism, commercialization, scientific and medical advancements, as concepts that imply success but actually are instruments of destruction. Harmony and equality perturb negative forces, hence, rivalry and envy are created in the Devil’s workshop.

The contemplation provides advice to free oneself of the rat race and reclaim the simplicity of a hard-working life for a fulfilling existence. Impulsiveness in thought and action, quick fixes, and striving for the luxurious lead to many of our daily and long-term problems. These are just some of the intriguing topics touched upon in this engrossing read.

The conversation is light, yet the message is deep. A book to be relished in one go and then picked up in moments of deliberation, making an impact one passage at a time. It is a self-help book but for humanity. It puts in words all our scattered thoughts on what is wrong with our world.

Practical insights, spiritual messages, anecdotes, and Devil Hacks may help us reset, recover, renew, or leave us wondering at the impending fate of humans. A book that makes one think is worth the time and attention. I am glad to have discovered it. It pulsates with the anguish of our modern lives and how we are in self-destruct mode. Is there a way to turn away from the abyss? Let the book reveal.

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