He gives a certain structure to melancholy that reading the book will make clear to readers about the complexity of this emotion which like several other emotions is highly over powering and painful.
Title: The Anatomy of Melancholy: A Selection
Author: Robert Burton
Publisher: Carcanet Press Ltd.
Date of Publication: 1 February 2004
As the very title alludes, The Anatomy of Melancholy by Robert Burton is a dissection of melancholy from every angle possible. What is interesting is how he performs this feat. He breaks down melancholy to its base elements and presents an unparalleled picture before the readers of an emotion that is oft so felt yet never easy to talk about.
Like a physician, Burton goes to the very core to deal with causes and concerns of possible solutions. None of the opinions are exactly his own. He takes a lot of material from other renowned and not so popular sources. He then builds on that by adding his thoughts. He gives a certain structure to melancholy that reading the book will make clear to readers about the complexity of this emotion which like several other emotions is highly over powering and painful. Burton understands very well how sorrow affects the heart, mind or soul and may cause complete loss of functionality. He constantly mentions philosophies of various eras. There is a lot of allusion to Greek, Roman and Latin mythological characters whose attributes are not always elaborated.
The Anatomy of Melancholy mainly comprises of short essays. Burton’s writing style is free flowing in a very classical sense. The modern reader’s mind will require a lot of effort to adapt to it. However, the essays are easier than Bacon. They are neither pithy nor terse. They provide a lot of examples but don’t always broaden them. Some lines are catchy and humorous. The humour is not grim or tedious. Despite it all, it is not an ideal book for beginners. It is definitely not a book to read on a weekend trip. It calls for a lot of attention and pre-requisite knowledge especially in European Classics. Nonetheless, it deals with pertinent issues and provides insightful views on melancholy which is an emotion everyone deals with on a daily basis. It can be easily said that Burton’s originality in assembling notions for a unique presentation and quality research is unbeatable.
Although intended as a self help manual, it will be wrong to say that it serves its purpose completely in the present times as it is extremely difficult to get through the book which is overflowing with didacticism and wisdom. It is a daring act to read the book in the original so an abridged version is suitable for a start though the book is best avoided unless one is compelled to read it as a part of coursework.
“Fairy tales in childhood are stepping stones throughout life, leading the way through trouble and trial. The value of fairy tales lies not in a brief literary escape from reality, but in the gift of hope that goodness truly is more powerful than evil and that even the darkest reality can lead to a Happily Ever After. Do not take that gift of hope lightly. It has the power to conquer despair in the midst of sorrow, to light the darkness in the valleys of life, to whisper “One more time” in the face of failure. Hope is what gives life to dreams, making the fairy tale the reality.” —L.R. Knost
There is no feeling to describe winning the Amazon Pen to Publish contest for my debut, THE WEDDING TAMASHA. It was surreal, to say the least. I couldn’t believe it at all. I was very lucky that my debut became such a hit.
After writing about the two daughters, I was undecided between writing about his daughter-in-law, Lekha, and his eldest granddaughter, Ria. Finally I chose to tell Ria’s story, because she was more prominent in the first two books. So the third book, coming up soon, is about Ria.
Sudha: There is no feeling to describe winning the Amazon Pen to Publish contest for my debut, THE WEDDING TAMASHA. It was surreal, to say the least. I couldn’t believe it at all. I was very lucky that my debut became such a hit. Shweta’s story seemed to have struck a chord with the sentiments of many. The description of a strict patriarch bearing over his large family, was loved very much, and I’m so glad I wrote this story, even though I was terrified that it wasn’t going to turn out okay. I’m so happy to see the success of the book, and the reviews that continue to come in from all over the world. I’m thankful, and feel blessed.
Sudha: The time I looked for influencers in my writing life was around the time I wanted to become a short story writer. I read the New Yorker regularly, as also, the Commonwealth prize winner stories, and tons of popular online literary magazines. I leaned quite by accident, or may be by providence,
Sudha: I started writing out of a need to find creative fulfillment. My journey began about six years ago when I wrote my first short story for an online literary magazine. You must have heard me say this before, but the first rejection, propelled me to try more. Challenges were many. The foremost was understanding the craft, which I realised, as soon as my piece was rejected, that I knew nothing about. Rejections taught me to learn from the writers I considered as my idols, and literally practice and keep writing, and submitting. The only hope that kept me going was the happiness that writing down every story gave me, and the memories it brought to life. Any everyday incident became a trigger for a story and it was a lot of fun as I tried to wrestle with it, and mould it into something by putting my imagination on overdrive. The difficult part was to accept that what I thought was a wonderful story did not necessarily feel the same to the editors that I submitted to. It took a long time to slowly build up my confidence, wade through the rejection, and try not to take it personally. Somewhere within, I believed in myself, and that alone kept me going. Finding and being part of a writing community was tough. To be accepted by other successful writers as one among them, was an uphill task. But, as I’ve learned over the years, I just had to put my head down, do the work, and let the rest fall into place. And that philosophy has helped tremendously. I’m grateful for my optimism, positive attitude, and perseverance. All of these were challenges as I was growing up to be a writer.
Sudha: The next book in THE MENON WOMEN series is Ria’s story. She’s a college-goer with a sweet first crush. I have tried to keep this story light, while also touching upon themes that are relevant today.It is set to be an entertainer where I plan to bring back some family members that I had to keep out of the second book. My wish is to write about all the Menon women in the family which fall under a variety of interesting age groups. I hope it will make my readers really happy. Also, I hope to keep the cast manageably small and cute. I’d like to know what you think about it when it’s out there.
Read the review here
The dialogues form an important part of the narrative and are short but well framed. It shows an ease with which he brings out the several themes and facts without getting sidelined from the original idea of presenting the magnificent sights that the Holy Land has to offer.
Title: Finding Jesus in Israel
Author: Buck Storm
Publisher: Worthy Publishing
Date of Publication: 1 May 2018
Told in a suave and easy to read style, Finding Jesus in Israel is an unconventional travel book by Storm. Though not a travel guide proper, this book takes interesting to a whole new level. Taking the genre of travel guides by storm, Buck Storm relates his multifarious adventures in Israel as he travels along the length and breadth of the country where Jesus once strode.
As a first hand account, the book mentions Storm’s experiences in a novel like manner with the introduction of several characters that he meets along the way that go on too make the story more engaging. Israel is a rising global tourist destination that has been hosting millions of international visitors each year. It is also a country that has a strong historical and political background. Perhaps, it is its history and political affiliations or present day position that makes Israel a land of much interest to people from various professional backgrounds. However, Storm does not deal directly with any of the difficult themes but rather mentions them through the talks that he has had with the locals there. After all, the best way to know a country and its culture is through its people.
The dialogues form an important part of the narrative and are short but well framed. It shows an ease with which he brings out the several themes and facts without getting sidelined from the original idea of presenting the magnificent sights that the Holy Land has to offer. Sadly, the book is too lengthy and cannot be read on the go. It requires quite some attention and for those who do not enjoy reading detailed travelogues with be put off immediately. Not exactly a travel writing as he doesn’t mention anything about the facts like costs and hotels. Dialogues and interaction between people is interesting. Unbiased take on events. Storm mentions all the things American-Israeli ties, Middle Eastern politics and historical significance of Israel. Though its almost like an ode to Israel, yet he doesn’t over venerate Israel as a land of riches. He mentions its importance and significance which is unparalleled to that of any other country in the world. What is important to understand is that the book is descriptive of his travel that was more of a pilgrimage.
Christianity lies at the background of the book and Storm’s intention is to understand its significance and the role that Jesus played while his days in the Holy Land. Some interesting chapters include Confession is Good for the Soul, Horse Trading, Paper Prayers, Same Old Sun and The Beginning is Near. Another chapter Bombs deserves special mention that deals with the growing turmoil in the region. Finding Jesus in Israel is very different from the usual factual travel books and it doesn’t provide a lot of information about the hotels available, the prices or any difficulties during the stay as a foreigner. But it is a valuable read for those who may be planning a trip or pilgrimage to Israel and it will leave readers feeling that the road less traveled is worth the effort that it takes to journey across the mixed terrain.