English Literature: William J. Long

It happens often that when I consciously think about how I came about reading a book, it seems like a lucky coincidence. A sale on Flipkart where I needed to buy a certain number of books to qualify and only certain books are part of the list and I end up buying Murakami's 1Q84 and it became the first (and till now - March 2020) Murakami I read. A book up for review on a virtual book tour. A book recommended by kindle. A friend mentioning it in the passing. A quote read somewhere. Reading about a book in another book. And very often these days, discovering an author on twitter.

Long's English Literature has a rather different story. While pursuing my Masters in English Literature a few years ago through distance education (IGNOU), I needed some help studying. And I met Mansi Arora (a wonderful person, but in no way related to me, though we share the same surname). She mentioned Long's book in the very first session and asked me to buy it. I ordered it right there and then. I read parts of the book, but not much, while studying for M.A.

Today, years later, with Masters completed, having started reading this book multiple times, with India under 21-day lockdown, I picked it up once again. 

Now at page 29, reading about the Anglo-Saxon Period, I am enjoying it, I am in awe of the writing, and I think if I start copying quotable sentences (something I do often) from this book, I would end up copying most of it. 

Why I chose to study literature, why I read books, why I write about books - these are questions I have been asked often. The first one is the most difficult to answer to most people.
The introduction of this book answers it precisely and in a detailed manner and with such beauty that I loved reading about why one reads literature. It encourages the enjoyment of literature over its study and analysis.

"To enter and enjoy this new world, to love good books for their own sake, is the chief thing; to analyze and explain them is a less joyous but still an important matter. Behind every book is a man; behind the man is the race; and behind the race are the natural and social environments whose influence is unconsciously reflected."

In no way relevant to what I am writing about, and in no way a criticism of what I am writing about because I understand that times change, and society and language does and should change with it, I notice how often the word 'man' is used in this book to refer to people. I wonder if this would in any way change as I read the book further and read about periods with many famous female authors.

I think (and I hope because I have the tendency to go off the blog for months at end at times) that I will be writing a lot more about this one.

Saved by Love - Shilpa Suraj

Title: Saved by Love
Author: Shilpa Suraj
Genre: Romance

Shilpa Suraj's Saved by Love is the story of Naina Ahuja and Arjun Rathore - two individuals with very different personalities and lives. So, obviously what they expect and want from life is also drastically different.
And yet when destiny brings them together, sparks fly.

Through Saved by Love, we see the two traverse through the maze of the circumstances that they face in their attempts to stay unaffected by and away from each other.

I read this book in one go, as this story went from the mountains of Ladakh to the beaches of Goa.

The other characters in the book also stand out, especially that of Arjun's brother, Aryan.

Saved by Love is a fun and enjoyable read.
I loved reading Naina's and Arjun's story as the two are saved by the strength of their love.

Theme Reveal 2020 #AtoZChallenge

A to Z Blogging Challenge 2020
Theme Reveal

My last book of 2019 and the first of 2020.
1318 pages of awesomeness.
Deserves 26 posts.

Murakami's 1Q84
- my theme for A to Z Blogging Challenge 2020.

Book Review: The Turkish Affair (J. Arlene Culiner)

Author: J. Arlene Culiner
Genre: Romance

My Review of The Turkish Affair

A question that I am asked often is - 'What do you get from reading novels?' And I understand where this question comes from. The extent of reading of most of those around me is limited to Whatsapp messages and, at the most, newspapers. Reading is supposed to be about learning something and was/is limited to school/college textbooks.
You want stories and/or entertainment, you switch on the television, or something similar.

Most people are not looking for a discussion on the subject, so a sentence or two, or at times just a smile has been known to suffice as an answer.
I have given many reasons over the years. There are many reasons. Very few of these reasons make sense to non-readers.
One that I have realised is most easily accepted by them though is that you do learn from novels.

The point of starting with this kind-of rant is that even as I enjoyed reading J. Arlene Culiner's The Turkish Affair, I learned things too.

The Turkish Affair has Anne Pierson, a tourist guide/interpreter and Renaud Townsend, an archaeologist as central characters. Both are Americans, but the setting of their story is Turkey.
The romance in The Turkish Affair has secrets of past, mysteries of crime, and intrigue of a foreign culture interwoven in it, which makes it a fascinating read.

A fast-paced novel that I enjoyed, while I also learned about places and professions that I knew little about. I highly recommend this one.

*  *  *

Love and Danger at the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu

Priceless artifacts are disappearing from the ancient Hittite site of Karakuyu in Turkey, and the site director has vanished. Called in to solve the mystery, archaeologist Renaud Townsend is hindered by both his inability to speak the language and the knowledge that the local police are corrupt. His attraction to translator Anne Pierson is immediate, although he is troubled by her refusal to talk about the past and her fear of public scandal. But when murder enters the picture, both Anne and Renaud realize that the risk of falling in love is not the only danger.


Author J. Arlene Culiner does not disappoint in this fast-paced novel, The Turkish Affair. Glittering descriptions, magical settings, and enviable characters bring the solemn grounds of Turkey to life as we are planted firmly in an archeological dig in Karakuyu, Turkey. Culiner's mastery of the English language and sentence combinations form an enchanting read. The Turkish Affair is a must-read for all lovers of romance and adventure.
--Lisa McCombs for Readers' Favorite

Order Below:

Amazon → https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0823B18Z3

 Barnes & Noble → https://tinyurl.com/yx2lyg6v

A delicious breeze tickled the air, and the little boat rocked gently. A fine line appeared between Renaud’s brows, and his blue eyes were, once again, serious. “I need your help.”
Anne stared. “My help? With what? Translating?”
“No. With something else. I have to find out who is behind the thefts at Karakuyu.”
The feeling of dread returned, but she forced herself to sound casual. “How could I possibly help you with that?”
“I don’t know.” He sighed. “I just don’t want to feel that I’m alone in this.”
What could she say to that? Tell him she was the last person he should team up with? That long ago, she’d escaped arrest by the skin of her teeth? If she did so, this splendid moment would be over. The silver-foil glimmer of romance would be tarnished forever. He’d row back to shore, drive back to G├╝lkale, get rid of her as quickly as possible.
“Anne?” He reached out to caress her bare arm. “Come back from wherever you are.”
“You know nothing about me,” she said jaggedly.
“Nothing,” he agreed.
She swallowed. “I could be involved in the thefts for all you know. Why ask for my help? Why choose me?”
He smiled faintly. “A good question. I suppose, quite simply, I need—or want—to trust you.”
She felt utterly miserable. Why was life always like this? Wanting someone and not being able to have them? Wanting trust, but seeing it snatched away before it came close?

Writer, photographer, social critical artist, musician, and occasional actress, J. Arlene Culiner, was born in New York and raised in Toronto. She has crossed much of Europe on foot, has lived in a Hungarian mud house, a Bavarian castle, a Turkish cave-dwelling, on a Dutch canal, and in a haunted house on the English moors. She now resides in a 400-year-old former inn in a French village of no interest and, much to local dismay, protects all creatures, especially spiders and snakes. She particularly enjoys incorporating into short stories, mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and romances, her experiences in out-of-the-way communities, and her conversations with strange characters.


Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jarlene.culiner